12.   Nevidjane, the island of Pasman

After a break period of almost fifty years, the Christmas custom of koleda of Nevidjane on the island of Pasman restarted in 1996. Unlike the koleda that do rounds singing a specific repertoire of Christmas carols (kolede), the main event of Nevijska koleda takes place in the middle of the village - at the crossroads known as koledisce on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and Epiphany Eve - focusing on ritual bonfires koleda. Most scientists date the origin of kolede/kolende to the Pre-Christian period, "the oldest layer of popular culture that were Christianized and which survived by adapting and changing during the historical process" (Lozica 2002:177) [39]. This claim is supported by the process of restoration of Nevijska koleda which bears out the statement above. It is an example of a living tradition that created a new form using standard old elements (according to the memories of old participants) and enriching it with coexisting elements from modern times.


I came across the community for the first time in 1998, while recording the current condition of traditional music in the Republic of Croatia [40].

The members of a local folklore group, having sung the vocal repertoire of the new singing tradition, mentioned the existence of an older custom that they have started practicing after a long interval. They interrupted my numerous questions concerning the custom by giving me a floppy disc, which contained "all the data" that they managed to gather on koleda [41]. On my request they introduced me to the oldest koleda singer, Krsto Storic (1913). For that occasion, Krsto sang the melodies of Nevijska koleda. The recording of Krsto Storic helped nowadays koledari to remember an archaic singing of old Nevidjane.


Singing in koleda has a significant role; koledari sing during the entire ceremony. The music component, characterized by responsorial male singing, after various attempts returned to the original archaic singing style. Changes in the movements were greater; ritual procession enlarged by traditional dance, kolo, includes female singers and dancers. Despite the changes in the form of the ritual, what is recognizable and what remain is the local expression, which the people of Nevidjane (koledari) create themselves and adapt to their needs.


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The complete expression, although a product of modern times and modern life, for them presents a symbolic representation of their connection with the roots of the old and traditional. In the process that varies from silence to the complex performance of music and movement, from memory to established identity, music and movement are not fixed elements but rather integral parts subject to change.

A performing of the ritual became an unavoidable sign of identity that inhabitants of the Nevidjane nowadays perform in the folklore festivals all year long. Over the years, the event that started as a somewhat confused recollection of the oldest members of community evolved into the most important annual event in the small island's community.

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