Kvarner newsletter / no 10

A packed calendar of events
The festive atmosphere

Although one can say that every time of the year is beautiful in its own way, December and January on Kvarner – be it the islands, the coast, or the highlands – are particularly special because of the unique combination of beautiful landscape, quality of services offered, festive atmosphere, and joyful carnival events.

December on Kvarner is packed with various events – we cannot list them all here, but we can mention some of the most interesting. Crikvenica will host a carnival costume show. Numerous concerts and other events will be dedicated to the feasts of St. Barbara, St. Lucy and St. Nicholas – the latter being particularly beloved among children who will try to earn as many sweets and other gifts by participating in various performances. However, St. Nicholas' Day, the 6th of December, is also the Day of the Patron of sailors and travellers, and the occasion to celebrate special programmes dedicated to seafaring, which has a long tradition in the region, in places such as Punat on the island of Krk or Rab on the island of Rab. A special celebration is scheduled for the 11th of December – the International Mountain Day. From the 11th to the 14th of December, the new swimming pool complex in Rijeka will host the European Swimming Championship. The extensive range of cultural events on Kvarner includes, among other things, the International Competition of Opera Singers in Rijeka's Ivan pl. Zajc Theatre. From the 5th to the 7th of December, Opatija will host the traditional Chocolate Festival. This renowned holiday resort also prepares special programmes to celebrate Advent, Christmas and New Year in a particularly festive atmosphere. Traditional festivals, Christmas trees, festive menus and concerts will be offered in most of the region's centres such as Rijeka, Opatija, Crikvenica, Selce, Punat, or Rab. A very special attraction is the Christmas and New Year's Concert on the 24th of December on the islet of Košljun (near Punat on the island of Krk), which is famous for its notable Franciscan monastery with a valuable collection of Croatian cultural items and written documents. The winter atmosphere in the mountainous region of Gorski kotar will definitely make the festive events in places such as Mrkopalj, Lokve or Ravna Gora (featuring the arrival of Santa Claus) even more idyllic. One should not forget to mention Fužine and its "double" New Year celebration – at noon and at midnight. More details in a separate article within this newsletter.      
Many towns and villages on Kvarner, such as Rijeka, Mali Lošinj, Mrkopalj, Lokve, or Begovo Razdolje, will enter the New Year 2009 in a particularly festive atmosphere, with open-air celebrations on town squares, or in hotels and restaurants with special programmes and festive menus.
The carnival season starts directly after New Year celebrations. January brings all the abundance of traditional customs and splendid carnival events, each of them interesting in its own, specific way. However, one carnival is particularly worth mentioning because of its worldwide reputation – the International Rijeka Carnival, which will take place for the 26th time in the period between the 23rd January and the 22nd of February.