Tradition and people

Feast of St. Blaise celebrated in Brussels

In Brussels, in front of the Cathedral of St. Michel et Gudule, Festival of St. Blaise was celebrated for the second consecutive year. The organiser of the celebration was a branch of Matica Hrvatska in Brussels in cooperation with the representative office of Dubrovnik – Neretva County, the Croatian Tourist Board and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in the Kingdom of Belgium. About a hundred persons from Dubrovnik along with their guests attended the beginning of the Feast of St. Blaise. Same as in Dubrovnik, the organisers of the celebration had previously made a proclamation signed by hosts Jozo Bonacic and Viktor Sober.
After the Croatian hymn, hymns to freedom and Hymns of St. Blaise, the have read a proclamation in Croatian, French and English. Proclamation was read to the celebrants, doyen of the Cathedral of. Claude Castiaud, after which the white doves were released, as a symbol of freedom and peace. Commemorative gifts and doves of peace were brought by Luna Srsen and Peter Banicevic who came to the Fest dressed in national costume from Konavle.
The flag of St. Blaise and the Croatian flag were worn by Butigan Hrvoje and Davor Vnucec. After the opening of the Festival a traditional religious ceremony called ‘grlicanje’ or The Blessing of the Throats was also organised. Previous to this part, the president of Matica Hrvatska in Brussels, Ivica Srsen had read a letter from the Bishop of Dubrovnik, Msgr. Mate Uzinic written to the people of Dubrovnik who live in Belgium. People in Brussels tried the menu with ham, sporki makaruli and rozata.
‘Today have 52 people who originally came from Dubrovnik or Dubrovnik-Neretva County. What we particularly look forward is to have a lot of children as well as young people on the Festivity next year, and we hope that Fest of St. Blaise in Brussels will become tradition’, says Ivica Srsen.
Festival of St. Blaise is being celebrated since 972. A year after the Dubrovnik Senate has proclaimed St. Blaise to be Dubrovnik’s protector because it is believed that he defended the city from the Venetians.