Kvarner newsletter / no 33

Bela nedeja: a tradition dating back more than six centuries

Bela nedeja, the traditional three-day fair dedicated to belica, the indigenous white wine of the Kastav area, takes place this year from the 1st to the 4th of October. Running from early in the morning through to late in the evening, the fair will offer visitors typical products of the region for purchase, new wine and entertainment programmes.

On the first weekend of October, the old town of Kastav will host the traditional Bela nedeja festival – a rich four-day event dedicated to celebrate belica new wine – original white wine of the region. The festival will run from the 1st to the 4th of October and will include a fair of various products with a rich entertainment programme. Bela nedeja in Kastav is a traditional holiday, which many local people consider being more important than celebrating the New Year.
This tradition is many centuries old. The Statute of the town of Kastav from the year 1400 describes the date of Bela nedeja as the measure for almost anything: labourers and servants were given work for the period between the two Bela nedeja holidays, works in the wood would finish by the time of Bela nedeja, money would be borrowed until Bela nedeja, and so on. This was the day on which people would trade and have fun – and this tradition survived right up to the present day. In addition, there are many distinctive features that make this holiday famous not only in the local region.
In the past, fairs provided the only opportunity to sell or buy household products – but it was already then that Bela nedeja was far more important than other fairs in the region. Since Bela nedeja always takes place in the period of grape harvest and wine producing, over time it gained importance in the whole littoral region. This tradition continues over six centuries. The festive atmosphere begins on Friday in the evening, when local wine-makers start offering new wine, accompanied by a selection of local specialities and an attractive entertainment programme. The festival continues until Monday night.
In recent years, this traditional offer has been enriched with the promotion of typical handicrafts and customs of the region, which gives the visitors the opportunity to travel back in time and learn more about the origins of this tradition.
The town of Kastav and the organisers are always striving to add new, interesting cultural, entertainment and promotional programmes to the Bela nedeja festival. Concerts, folklore, traditional music, art exhibitions, book presentations, religious programmes, wine sampling, presentation of old handicrafts on the Lokvina square, tourist train that runs from Belići to Šporova jama, wide range of traditional products and souvenirs – these are all parts of this unique festival.
Indeed, Bela nedeja is the most important holiday in Kastav – it's the town's centuries-old tradition, which has a very special significance in the life of every inhabitant and friend of Kastav.