Kvarner newsletter / no 13

26th International Carnival in Rijeka
Fun and laughter guaranteed!

When the newly elected Carnival Queen, 22-year-old Tea Kik, took over the golden cloak, the ring, the necklace with a Morčić pendant and, most importantly, the keys to the city of Rijeka – masks took power in this Kvarner town for the 26th time. For the people of Rijeka and their guests, this is the most cheerful time of the year, which will last until the 22nd of February – the highlight of the Rijeka International Carnival.

The carnival tradition in Kvarner, which was the basis for the modern carnival events, has its origins in prehistoric times. Local customs are based on the tradition of "ugly masks" that would chase evil forces away, thus summoning spring and celebrating the birth of a new life. Carnival tradition has a long history in Rijeka – even hundred years ago people would organise parades and masked balls here in which Austrian and Hungarian nobility, Russian princesses, German barons and other members of aristocracy took part… Continuing this tradition, the Rijeka Tourism Office started organising carnival parade back in 1982. At that time no one could have foreseen that this will grow into what we know today as one of the leading carnivals in Europe, a recognisable event that continues to attract ever more visitors and masked guests to Rijeka each year. Let us also say that the Rijeka Carnival exceeded the number of 100,000 spectators already in 1994, and in 1995 it was given full membership of the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC). Last year's statistics undoubtedly shows that the interest for this event continues to grow: the 2008 Children Carnival Parade had 5,500 participants and 50,000 spectators, while the International Carnival Parade had as much as 8,000 participants in 95 carnival groups from Croatia and abroad, 70,000 spectators, and 10,280 people from more than 40 countries who watched live webcast on the Internet. 

This year's International Carnival in Rijeka includes several masked sporting events, traditional masked balls and parties. For more information please see the calendar of events at www.ri-karneval.com.hr .

Let us just mention that the Children Carnival Parade takes place on the 14th of February, and the highlight of this year's Carnival will be the 26th International Carnival Parade that starts on Sunday the 22nd of February at noon on the dot. Loads of fun guaranteed!

One more thing: the dates for the International Carnival in Rijeka are already scheduled until the year 2020. So, in case you cannot attend this year's carnival for any reason, let us announce that in the year 2010, the Children Carnival Parade will be held on the 8th of February, and the great International Carnival Parade on the 14th of February. Now you really cannot say that you haven't been informed in due time!