Kvarner newsletter / no 28

May in Rab
Do not miss the renowned Rab Crossbowmen Knight Tournament!

Starting with the packed programme to mark the Town of Rab Festival, visitors to this town will have a great chance to experience many other attractive events in May. Among these is the famous Knight Tournament, organised by the Rab Crossbowmen’s Society, which continues attracting numerous visitors to the area. Do not miss the chance to be a part of this unique historical event!

On the 9th of May, the Victory Day, Rab traditionally hosts the famous knight spectacle – the Rab Crossbowmen Knight Tournament, which dates back to 1364 and continues to attracts thousands of visitors to the town. This unique festival commemorates events from the local history and the great victory of people from Rab from the 11th century.
A medieval ceremony, which precedes the knight competition, is announced one day in advance by the messenger. The ceremony begins with the arrival of the prince and his entourage into the town loggia, where they are welcomed by the crossbowmen, musicians and flag carriers. Accompanied by the sound of drums, fanfares and ringing church bells, the participants of the tournament walk along the lanes of the town into the Cathedral for a blessing. The prince ceremonially opens the tournament on the St. Christopher Square, in front of the town gate. The town flag is raised with fanfares playing, and the tournament starts on the sign of the honoured judge. Twelve crossbowmen compete in aiming at the target, and the winner is the crossbowmen who hits closest to the centre of the target. The prince declares the winner and awards him the Felix prize. The event ends with music, flag carriers' performance and a ceremonial parade of all participants dressed in Renaissance costumes.
The tournament dates back to 1364, when the Great Council of Rab decided that to include seven-day municipal public festivities in honour of the Croatian-Hungarian King Ljudevit I. Anžuvinac and the patron saint of Rab, St. Christopher into the annual programme. The festivities, known as the Rapska Fjera, changed in the course of centuries, and eventually became a famous three-day historical festival that takes place in July. The Knight Tournament traditionally takes place several times each year – in May on the occasion of the Town Festival (Dies Victoriae), then on the 25th of June, and finally on the 27th of July, on the occasion of the feast of St. Christopher, patron saint of Rab diocese (Dies Natalia). Ceremonial parade also takes place on the feast day of the Assumption of Mary (August 15). On these occasions, visitors in the town can enjoy a wide range of programmes that are really worth visiting.
The tournament was interrupted in the course of history and once it nearly disappeared from the local tradition, but it was renewed in 1995 by the Rab Crossbowmen Association, whose main objective is to preserve local customs and skills. The distinctive feature of Rab crossbowmen are ancient crossbows that are only used in Rab and by the famous balestrieri from San Marino.
Apart from this attractive event, the Town Festival will also include a special programme and exhibition.
Other interesting events in Rab in May include the 3rd Children Singing Groups Festival in the Winter Cinema on the 15th of May, and the Olympic Triathlon and the International Kayak Regatta on the 29th of May.