During the Carnival period (between the 17th of January and Ash Wednesday), about ten groups of men in the Kastav area march through their own and surrounding villages in processions via traditional routes, several kilometers long. Some wear masks and others different headgear symbolizing vegetation and fertility. They all have sheepskin throws turned inside-out and bells, after which they were named. They ring with the bells by moving in different ways, which requires certain skill and physical endurance. Therefore it is considered that not just anyone can become a bell ringer. Although, on one hand, visibly embodying the ancient magical meaning of a ritual, which should invite fertility at the end of winter, this custom is still very much alive even today.
By enabling interaction of a group of bell ringers (and the people following them in their procession) with the inhabitants of the villages they pass on their way, the ritual maintains and stresses the social significance and function of mutual relationships between villages in the Kastav region, which is extremely important for the cohesion of the villages in which the ritual takes place. Bell ringers are from Bregi, Brgud, Halubje, Mučići, Mune, Rukavac, Zvoneća, Žejane, Frlanija, Vlahov Breg, Korensko.
The area of Halubje is home to the Halubajski zvončari bell ringers, the guardians of ancient traditions. Every year in the same place and at the same time, the Halubajski zvončari bell ringers follow their traditional route through the villages of the Halubje and Kastav areas, chasing away the winter and summoning the spring. This unique pageant can be experienced every year on the last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
The best way to learn about local villages, people, customs and traditions is to follow the Halubajski zvončari bell ringers. During this period, you can try traditional carnival food that invigorates the body on cold days. The daily marenda brunches are prepared according to old recipes and can be savoured at the Mladenka restaurant or the Konoba Kume tavern – both are located on the route of the pageant. This is also the chance to try some of the local desserts like presnac cake or fritule fritters. Our collection of recipes can help you when preparing these simple and delicious meals on your own.