Lastovo’s Poklad Carnival is one of the oldest traditions in Croatia and Europe, dating to over 500 years old…
The origins of the carnival derive from a celebration of a miraculous victory. Legend has it that while Catalonians were attacking Lastovo’s neighboring island Korčula, they sent one of their men to Lastovo to give the islanders a warning and ultimatum: give up without a fight or suffer the consequences. Unwilling to oblige, the islanders turned to God and prayed for His mercy. Astonishingly, their prayers were answered. Out of nowhere, a powerful storm destroyed all of the Catalonian ships, and Lastovo was saved.
To celebrate their victory, the Lastovians captured the Catalonian messenger and decided to make a fool of him by parading him through the village on a donkey and attaching him to a rope tied between the top and lower center of the village to lower him down.
The present-day festivities tied to the carnival begin on the 17th of January on the feast day of Saint Anthony the Great and end with the climactic re-enactment of the events on Ash Wednesday.
Every year, Lastovians from all over the island and world proudly participate and support the celebrations and traditions associated with the centuries-old carnival and therein raise awareness of its uniqueness that sets Lastovo apart from anywhere else.
On the 17th of January 2008, Croatia’s Ministry of Culture proclaimed Lastovo’s Poklad Carnival as an intangible cultural asset, and therefore, its integrity is protected.