The ten-day tour kicked off with a reception at the Croatian Heritage Foundation where the participants were welcomed by director Mijo Marić. The group of sixty-seven diaspora Croats includes seventeen young families with a total of thirty-two children, twenty-six of whom are under the age of twelve. For many it was their first ever visit to Croatia.
The Mladi Hrvati (Young Croats, https://www.facebook.com/mladihrvati.folklornagrupa.3/) folklore group travelled through Croatia on a tour organised in collaboration with the Croatian Heritage Foundation. The tour ran from the 3rd to 13th of July under the motto “The Swallows are Coming Home!”. The tour kicked off with a reception at the Croatian Heritage Foundation where the participants were welcomed by director Mijo Marić.
The group of sixty-seven diaspora Croats includes seventeen young families with a total of thirty-two children, twenty-six of whom are under the age of twelve. For many it was their first ever visit to Croatia. They took part in the Đakovački vezovi folklore event and on the 11th of July staged a joint event with the Zadarski tanac Croatian Folklore Ensemble at the Night of the Full Moon event in the coastal town of Zadar.
They visited Zagreb, Trakošćan, Marija Bistrica, Vukovar, a typical salaš farmstead, the wonder of the Plitvice Lakes, and learned how authentic dry-cured ham (pršut) and local cheese are made and socialised on a revived threshing floor (guvno) at the Etnoland venue. The coastal town of Šibenik served as their “maritime base” for visits to the stunning points of interest in our southern seaboard region of Dalmatia. The group also followed in the steps of medieval pirates, “captured” Castle Klis and saw the points of interest in Split.
A highlight of the tour was a reception at the Office of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović.
The Mladi Hrvati folklore ensemble was founded back in 1978 under the wing of the Sveti Nikola Tavelić Croatian Catholic Centre in Australia’s Melbourne and has since then made a significant contribution to the cultural life of the Australian-Croatian community in Victoria. For over forty years this folklore ensemble has engaged its great love of Croatian songs, dances and folk costumes throughout the Australian-Croatian community. The group’s membership is diverse in terms of age, ranging from 5 to 65 years, and works in junior, adult and senior sections and a tamburitza orchestra. All of the sections are regular participants of local events in the community and folklore festivals and concerts across Australia. The Mladi Hrvati folklore ensemble is tireless in developing its broad dance repertoire and proudly wears authentic folklore costumes, sewn based on original models. Their objective has always been to strengthen the sense of pride in our culture, to promote the wealth of Croatian cultural heritage in the Croatian community and in particular among young Australian-Croatians.
By: Mirjana Ana-Maria Piskulić