Kvarner newsletter / no 12

Meet Morčić
Morčić – the official mascot of the Carnival

When you see black figures with white turbans in Rijeka's carnival parade – and surely you will – you should know that this is Morčić, the official mascot of the Carnival, but also one of the most recognisable symbols of Rijeka. If you decide to buy this figure as a part of jewellery, you should also know that it brings luck!

The figure of Morčić originates from 17th and 18th century Venice, when people were obsessed with Orient: apart from oriental spices, fabrics, clothes and jewellery, the houses of wealthy Venetian patricians oft had black pages and servants dressed in oriental clothes. They inspired the goldsmiths who started producing stick pins with the black figure wearing the turban, richly decorated with precious stones, called moretto. Around the same time, craftsmen in Rijeka started producing a more humble version of that jewellery, called morčić.  Because of its low price, the morčić became a part of traditional jewellery of people from Rijeka.  

In the second half of the 19th century, Rijeka became the main production centre of such jewellery. As a result, the morčić became a recognisable souvenir from Rijeka in form of earrings, rings, brooches, necklaces, or pins. Morčić is now the official mascot of the Carnival since 1994, and it is also believed to bring luck. This is why many visitors to the region will certainly take this figure with them as a precious souvenir that has three functions: it is a beautiful decoration, it brings luck, and it also reminds of the nice moments of vacation on Kvarner.