Winter in Rijeka

Rijeka, a unique city in many ways, will also see the year out in its own distinct fashion. No two months in Rijeka are alike, and winter, well, is a fairy tale jointly told in Rijeka’s streets, squares and at and by the sea by the people and the city they inhabit. That moment when Rijeka “dons” December and Rijeka Advent commences, the city dazzles in all its holiday glory and everything in it becomes enchanting. This is a tradition that starts a day before the Feast of St. Nicholas, when thousands of Christmas lights chase away the darkness, which is a moment no one should miss. In the month that follows, fancy comes alive under these lights, dressed up in a plethora of events that are suited to all ages. It is a time when Rijeka sings and dances to the music, laughs and rejoices. A time when Rijeka gives and helps. A time when it displays its diversity.

Rijeka Advent is a must-visit event in Rijeka because nothing quite compares to the experience of Rijeka’s December fairy tale. It becomes more playful and eventful with each year. And immediately after Advent, Rijeka enters the latter half of winter and its “fifth season” – the Rijeka Carnival.

The Rijeka Carnival begins on 17 January on the Feast Day of St. Anthony, or on “Antonje”, as it is known among the locals. It begins with the raising of the Carnival flag, which is always done in a different part of the city. And from the moment the flag starts fluttering, costumed vehicles run according to their own schedule, moving around as they please, all the while following a well-trodden track and a meticulously planned itinerary. What sets the Rijeka Carnival apart from all the others is the fact that behind its perceived nonchalance, every single feature and carnival event is planned right down to the last detail. Hour upon hour of deliberation, arrangements and action. Plenty of hard work and sleepless nights.

Rijeka Carnival’s D-Day or the day of the International Carnival Parade, epitomises everything leading up to the fifth season. It is a parade of Rijeka’s costumed uniqueness, which is based on tradition that is alive and well today, while cleverly devising its tomorrow. Rijeka’s costumed uniqueness, which is what it is, something cherished and beautiful to us and quite fascinating to the rest of the world, lives on in every seam of the gorgeous costumes, because the Rijeka Carnival is nothing if not stunning and lavish – in every float screw and in every carnival group from the city and its surroundings.