Every August Mundimitar is home to the “Summer With Us, It’s Nice With Us” (Lito s nami, lipo s name) event, a series of happenings that aim to preserve the traditions and culture of the Croatians of the Molise region.

Families gathered at the selo (village) locality, the site of St Lucy (Sveta Lucija) church, on August 15th to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and socialise on the meadow surrounding the church. There is an interesting story related to this church – early in the last century nobody particularly cared about the place – then a mere meadow – until a blind man from the village dreamt that this was in fact the location of a church. He exhorted the locals to study the terrain, which led to the discovery of the foundations of a previous church, which were then used to build a new church. An old cemetery had also been found, evidenced by finds of bones around the church. These were then gathered and buried in one spot. The inscription above the altar reads: “Saint Lucy Pray For Us” (Sveta Luce moli za nas).

Mundimitar is also home to a donkey race. The donkeys come from other settlements – four to be precise, representing four parts of the region. The duration of the race depends largely on the mood of the four-legged competitors. Once the winner has been declared, the mayor treats everybody to spaghetti with aglio, olio and pepperoncino with, or course, the local wine.

In August the Agostina Piccoli Foundation stages a literary competition for the best verse composed in the local Croatian dialect of the Molise region (“in our tongue” or “na našo”). The Split branch office of the CHF joined the event this year with a presentation by Goran Borčić, an advisor with the Museum of the City of Split and the author of the book Oružje iz fundusa Muzeja grada Splita (Weapons in the Collection of the Museum of the City of Split). Borčić has also prepared a DVD video featuring a selection of weapons from the period when Croatians came to Molise “s one bane mora” (“from that side of the sea”). The presentation was held on August 17th, the same evening when the Večera na našo (Evening In Our Tongue) event was held, including the presentation of the prize for best literary work. The event’s organiser and moderator was Antonio Sammartino. The prizes went to Lucio Caruso, Enrico Cocciolillo and Luigi Gentilini, who many years ago attended a Croatian language course organised by the Zadar branch office of the CHF.

This year we also participated in what could be called a historic event. In Our Words (S našimi riči), a book published by the Piccoli Foundation, has been published in Braille writing for the blind. The book was transliterated by professor Ivan Krznarić of Zagreb, who was on hand to address the gathered. Mayor Sergio Sammartino was happy to support an initiative to see Mundimitar proclaimed a town of poetry. Musical entertainment was provided by the excellent young vocal ensemble Kroatarantata. Serving as translator that evening was Vesna Sammartino.

The following day, August 18th, the entire town enjoyed pasta e fagioli, an event featuring food, music and fun. It is the birthday of Marko Marulić, the father of Croatian literature and a contemporary of the period that saw the migration of Croatians to the Molise region. They have preserved the ancient form of the language in which Marulić’s Judita was written. In many ways this serves to further solidify our ties.

Text and photos by: Branka Bezić Filipović