The history of Kotor, Boka and the Bokelj Navy is linked to their patron saint St. Tryphon (Tripun). Each year since 809, the St. Tryphon Evenings have been marked as a memory of his arrival from Asia Minor to Kotor.
The Bokelj people never forgot their patron, not even when they themselves were forced to flee their homeland and thus displaced around the world. This tradition is also treasured and preserved by the Croatian Brotherhood of the Bokelj Navy 809, which traditionally organizes Bokelj Evenings.
The Bokelj Kolo
It is customary for the “little admiral”, a 10 year old boy, to officially commence the evening. He is followed by an admiral in all performances, something that represents a symbol of generational cohesion. Eight days before the event, the “little admiral” must speak the Lauds in honor of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the martyr of St. Tryphon. This custom originated in the 16th century, the present text spoken of praise dates back to the year 1800.
The Bokelj Kolo
Following, they dance the kolo of the Bokelj Navy, a round dance which symbolizes strong ties among seafarers, who struggle with the difficulties of life and seek salvation in brotherhood, love and their faith. The performance is conducted in the official attire of the Bokelj Navy.
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