St Blaise Feast
There isn’t a day that makes me prouder to be from Dubrovnik than St Blaise Day. I think this goes for anyone who shares my hometown with me.
This year we celebrated the 1045th Feast of St Blaise. That is how long he’s been our patron and protector. According to a legend, he rescued the city of Dubrovnik back in 972. by warning a canon of St Stephen’s Church named Stojko about a possible attack on the city by Venice. When they managed to stop the attack, St Blaise was immediately proclaimed protector and guardian of Dubrovnik.
That can certainly be seen all over the Old town – statues of St Blaise are everywhere, and his church is in the middle of the city, on the main square called Luža. He’s watching over the city from all sides, guarding each entrance. His statues are even holding a small version of Dubrovnik in his hand.
St Blaise is also the protector against injuries or illnesses of the throat. That is why we get our throats blessed in the church of St Blaise during the Feast. If you ever wondered what those strange two-part candles are for, that’s it.
The character of St Blaise was on the flag and the coins of the Dubrovnik Republic. He was so important that even the people who were exiled from the Republic, were able to come back for the Feast. The Feast is even on the UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.
Today, other than having our throats blessed, people of Dubrovnik dress in traditional folk costumes, attend mass, dress all fancy to go to the Old town, celebrate with processions, concerts and parading the relics of St Blaise – his head, a bit of bone from his throat, his right hand and his left. White doves are released on Candlemas.
If you didn’t get to enjoy the Feast in Dubrovnik this year, or if you simply want to relive it, take a look at the photo gallery below.