Festival in Omiš
Croatian culture is as old as the stone on which Dalmatia, the beautiful coastal region of Croatia, lies. The wonderful scenes with the sun, the coast and the islands are best expressed through the “klapa” singing (“klapa” is a group of male or female singers who sing in a special way, typical for Dalmatia) which is one of the facets of the old Croatian culture. To lose “klapa” singing it would mean to destroy all the links to and memories of the past and the people who cherished the traditional singing with love and passed it to every new generation. That love gave birth to the “klapa” singing Festival in Omis, a unique museum of a specific part of the Croatian culture, the museum where soul and song merges.
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Here is a short overview of all events in Omiš
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KLAPA MULTIPART SINGING OF DALMATIA, SOUTHERN CROATIA INSCRIBED IN 2012 ON THE REPRESENTATIVE LIST OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
During the seventh meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which took place in Paris between 3rd and 7th of December, an expert subcommittee submitted a proposal to add klapa singing to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The proposal has been unanimously accepted on 5th of December. Croatian delegation composed of the representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Croatian UNESCO delegation and the permanent delegation of the Republic of Croatia have participated in the meeting.
After the acceptance of the proposal the Croatian delegation has expressed our gratitude to the Intergovernmental Committee for recognizing the klapa singing as a special cultural heritage of the humanity. To celebrate, our delegation has prepared a short surprise program of klapa songs for the representatives of more than 250 member states. For the rest of the day a commemorative and spontaneous program has been taking place at UNESCO.
After this decision of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage the Republic of Croatia has 12 heritages in the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
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Friendship is one of the most important and the most precious things a man can have in his life. Friendship is woven into the history of “klapa” singing which had existed hundreds and hundreds years before the Festival in Omis emerged. The song is the most beautiful speech of heart, the heart which had so little time to speak because of the hard life it lived. When hoes were put away into “konoba”s (a room on the ground floor in a typical Dalmatian house), when nets were pulled out from the sea after a hard day’s work, friends would meet in a “konoba” or by the sea and a song would well forth. It is that song that incorporates the recorded history of the region. How old is the first “klapa”? It is as old as are the first friendship and the first congenial souls whose hearts gave birth to a song…
A grandfather will tell his grandsons about having grandfather who sang in a “klapa” in the evening and the story will go on through the generations to come. If we ask any of the “klapa”s about their beginnings, the answer will always be the same. All of them are good friends, and singing is a part of their life.
If we imagine the sunset on the horizon, a stone cove reflecting the purple of the sky and the deep blue of the calm sea, the so called “bonaca”, the ship and the smoke coming from “gradela”s (a type of grid-iron) it seems that we are faced with the most beautiful scene we could ever imagine. But the magic is not complete yet, not until the chirping of crickets and the singing of “klapa” unite to create a paradise that has no match in the world. There is no need to ask a girl about her feeling after a “klapa” sang beneath her “ponistra” (window). We already know the answer: she lacks the words to express her feelings.
Today, everyone can enjoy the beauty of the “klapa” singing provided that he comes to Omis during the Festival, but in the past it was the rare pleasure for those who happened to be on the spot where a “klapa” was singing at that moment. Some thirty years ago, actually in 1966, somebody had the idea to gather at least a certain number out of the numerous “klapa”s in Dalmatia. The idea was realized in a Festival as the annual gathering. Omis was the lucky town to be the traditional host for all the “klapa” singing fans who enjoy the song from the bottom of their hearts. There are no words to describe the marvelous sound echoing on the small square in Omis, the St. Michael’s square. Those who have not experienced it can hardly imagine it.
A panacea for the heart and a rest for every soul are at everyone’s disposal. In the time of the Festival Omis witnesses the immense cultural heritage concentrated in this small town lulled by the Adriatic sea and sheltered by the high mountain of Mosor.
In 1967 the first “klapa” Festival in Omis took place, the Festival which is only a tiny drop compared with the sea of the long history of “klapa” singing, but even this tiny drop, in our case, is precious. It offers us, year in, year out, as much as the whole sea, it offers us everything a small group of people dreamed about some thirty years ago.
From the numerous records and the tradition, it is obvious that the Festival in Omis has had another role. It is about protecting the traditional “klapa” singing and the whole Croatian original cultural heritage. Because of all of that, thank you, Omis!
The small ship which set sail in 1967 has grown into a big sailboat which cannot be sunk even if it loses the original love and faith it was supported with in the past. But we do hope that love and faith will never leave it, our Croatian sailboat from Omis has a safe and peaceful future and our only wish can be:
SAIL ALONG YOU SAILBOAT FROM OMIS…SAIL ALONG FOR HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS YEARS TO COME…
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Welcome to the official web site of Festival in Omis. It is under construction at the moment. Soon it will be fully operational. Thanks for your visit again.
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