21:46 / 15.04.2022.

Author: Katja Miličić

Following the Cross procession on Hvar resumes in full form

The Following the Cross procession

The Following the Cross procession

Foto: Zoran Vukičević / HRT Radio Split

The Following the Cross procession returned to the island of Hvar in its full this week after two pandemic years during which participation was kept to a minimum.

Thousands of pilgrims took part in the procession that stops in six villages on the Dalmatian island overnight from Holy Thursday into Good Friday. The procession has been inscribed into the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage since 2009.

"It's difficult to explain why so many people are devoted to this tradition. There's no rational explanation. As the Little Prince would say, some beautiful things are not visible to the human eye,” said Fr. Stanko Jerčić, the parish priest in the town of Jelsa.

Holy Week is when many Hvar natives who live on the mainland or abroad return to their roots. For the Marijan and Huljić families from the village of Pitve, Following the Cross carries a deeper meeting than just tradition. Their families have been cross bearers for generations.

"This is something we live from year to year. It is priceless. We live for it," says Tonći Marijan.

Beginning on Holy Thursday evening, pilgrims walk 25 kilometers, making a loop through the six villages and arriving in Jelsa, where they started, at dawn. There is only one cross-bearer, making it much desired and greatly respected position. Men sign up to 20 years in advance in the hopes of being chosen for the honor.

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