Svako selo svoju feštu ima... is Croatian for every village has its own festival. One of the most popular pop festive songs begins with this sentence. And this cannot be more true! During summer almost every city or village on the dalmatian coast will declare its day and prepare a feast in every sense of the word, for all the senses. If you find yourself somewhere on the coast one summer, check for the date when fešta is held. Ask the locals, they will know best.
During the festival day the villagers start to prepare for the evening when the main party will commence. What you have to know is that i'm writing from a perspective of a small island villager. Bigger cities have more animation and a bigger programme even during the day. But on the small villages of the islands, the festivity is local, more private with a special homely atmosphere. The village center is decorated with colourful lights, there are little flags hanging from the porches of little cafés and stores by the sea.
The locals begin to install the food stands. In the late afternoon they start preparing some of the main dishes that will be sold in the evening to the hungry dancers or to the curious. While the band is having a rehearsal before the evening concert, fish and squids are being cleaned, kilos of onions and potatos are peeled and chopped and drinks are arriving in crates.
As the sun starts coming down, lights are liten up, food stands are ready and the first passers by are reading the menus. The smell of fresh fish and grilled meat is inviting and all of a sudden, the center is packed with people of all age. The music starts, people are dancing, eating, chatting or sitting by the sea.
There is something for everyone. For the sweet tooths there are traditional sweets and candies to buy,
made on the spot by local women or already prepared and wrapped in a rustling paper. My favourites are fritule, a doughnut-like dalmatian pastry, prepared with a touch of rakija.
The band plays till late night reaching a crescendo after the great fireworks at midnight. But the music is not over - the party for the young continues in one of the bars until dawn with summer hits and cocktails by the sea.