(Photo: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/PIXSELL) (Photo: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/PIXSELL)

On the island of Hvar, the day holds extra special meaning due to the traditional all-night procession known as 'Following the Cross', which has been held every year for the past five centuries. The event was inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.

This year's cross-bearer Petar Bunčuga described the walk as "difficult and strenuous, yet beautiful," adding that he had carried out his task with all his heart and soul. He also thanked the team of helpers who aided him along the way.

Top state officials issued their respective Easter greetings to citizens ahead of the holiday long weekend. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović called on the Croatia faithful at home and abroad to strengthen their faith in redemption and salvation, adding that Easter should foster communion and strengthen solidarity and mutual respect.

In his greeting, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wished all Croatian citizens a blessed Easter, "with an abundance of peace, communion, and health". He added that his government would continue to work for the well-being of all Croatians, especially those most in need of help.

The Prime Minister, who participated in the 'Following the Cross' procession the previous night, took a tour of Hvar's newly renovated theater - the oldest public theater in Europe.

"This is truly a major event for Hvar. I am personally proud of the strong support from our government. The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, together with the Ministry of Culture, managed to secure the necessary funds needed to complete the renovation of the Hvar Theatre, which has existed in this building since the year 1612," said Plenković.

Performances are set to begin next month.

Source: HRT