If there is a single word that would historically describe Slavonia, the eastern region of Croatia, it would most definitely be rich. Although nowadays, when you say Croatia, images of rocky Mediterranean beaches leave the images of endless Pannonian lowlands in the back of mind, there is definitely something to be said about the discrete charm and beauty of this region.
Although maybe today Slavonia is not as prosperous as other Croatian regions, it is definitely rich. Rich in historical and cultural heritage, an endless array of folk customs, dances, songs and costumes. Rich in black, fertile soil that nourishes almost any crop planted. Rich in thick and lush oak forests stretching as far as the eye can see. Rich in quiet but mighty rivers. Drava, Danube and Sava all pass through Slavonia, carrying the fruits of the region toward the sea.
Autumn is a special time in Slavonia. A time when nature rewards the people of the region for a year of hard work. A time when crops are harvested and stockpiled, a time when debts are settled, a time to enjoy the fruits of labor. It is a time for celebration, and although people of Slavonia do many things well, this is where they truly excel.
Vinkovačke Jeseni are a cultural manifestation held in the beginning of September that celebrates the beginning of the harvest season. Vinkovci are a quiet little town on the banks of the river Bosut in the very east of Croatia. It is a typical Slavonian town, with broad straight streets, a perfect setting for a manifestation celebrating everything Slavonian: music, dance, heritage and naturally, food.
This year Vinkovačke Jeseni will be held form 11th till 20th of September. The opening ceremony will present a rich programme with a theme of life in the Slavonian village and will include musical performances by folklore groups, dance recitals and acting performances.
Maybe the most memorable traditional part of ‘’Vinkovačke Jeseni’’is the folklore parade. Folklore groups from all over Slavonia and Croatia will parade through the broad streets of the town center in beautiful, traditional folk costumes, showcasing a rich cultural heritage, followed with bećarac, a UNSECO protected humorous folk singing emblematic for Slavonia.
During the ten days Vinkovci will host numerous folklore groups, theater groups and music acts. And when we are talking about Slavonia, we simply can’t forget to mention food. Slavonia is home to many delicacies and traditional recipes, using fruits of the region and incredible spices to create rhapsodies of flavour.
If this is not a reason enough to stop by Vinkovci, we really don’t see what is.
Photo Credit: (1) Nick Savchenko, Flickr, (2) Vinkovačke Jeseni