08.01.2017
Celebration of Saint Blaise Festivity
Ever since the year 972, when people began to celebrate it, the feast day of St Blaise, Dubrovnik patron saint, has been a quite special festival, typical of Dubrovnik.

Apart from the opening ceremony on Candlemass Day a festive procession in Stradun is organised with a large number of congregation members taking part. A series of church and secular concerts, exhibitions, book presentations and theatre guest performances are dedicated to the patron saint of Dubrovnik, whose statues look at us from the city walls and gates and whose caring hand guards Dubrovnik on his palm. The feast day of St Blaise, Dubrovnik patron saint – portrayed as an old man holding a model of the City in his hand, the statues of whom can be seen on the city walls and gates – has been a special day for the City of Dubrovnik ever since the year 972, when people began to celebrate it. The celebration is quite special and characteristic of Dubrovnik. It begins on Candlemass Day (2 February) with the release of white doves, the symbols of freedom and peace, in front of St Blaise's Church and with the raising of St Blaise's flag on Orlando's Column. On St Blaise's Day (3 February) the relics of St Blaise are carried in Stradun and the streets of Dubrovnik in a huge procession of banners and people of faith from the Dubrovnik surroundings. The most valuable among the relics of the Dubrovnik Cathedral, Jesus’ loincloth, is carried under a canopy.

In front of St Blaise's Church the banners are unfurled in a special way. They bow paying respect to the saint who has watched over Dubrovnik for many centuries. This is the opportunity for the banner carriers to show this special skill, as well as their exquisite and rich folk costumes which attract attention with their genuineness and beauty. The priests perform the throat blessing ceremony for the congregation members who visit the church the whole day long. The ceremony, which comprises the blessing in front of the interweaved candles, is believed to protect from throat diseases. At sunset the stained-glass windows and laurel decorations in the church of the Dubrovnik patron saint radiate with a special glow. With the blessing of St Blaise they bid farewell to the faithful residents and guests of Dubrovnik until next year.
The Festival of St Blaise is also the City of Dubrovnik Day. Apart from the spiritual segment of the festival, these days abound with various events. At the festive meeting of the City Council, taking place at the baroque Marin Držić Theatre, the prizes of the City are awarded. During the festival Dubrovnik is visited by the diplomatic corps and numerous prestigious businessmen and politicians from Croatia and Europe. For all of them, as a part of the Dubrovnik tradition, the Candlemass Dinner is organised at Fort Revelin, where the Dubrovnik delicacies – including the sporchi macaroni and doughnuts - will be served. In the time of the festival a series of church and secular concerts, exhibitions, book presentations and theatre guest performances are dedicated to the patron saint of Dubrovnik, whose statues look at us from the city walls and gates and whose caring hand guards Dubrovnik on his palm.

Last year, Dubrovnik, for the 1040th time, honoured its patron Saint Blaise with a wondrous traditional festival, which was included in UNESCO Intangible World Heritage List in 2009.

 
 
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