Sunday, 17 July 2011
10th jubilee RAB FJERA 25.07.-27.07.2011
History as tourism: Rab tournament games and Rab medieval fair - unique fun festival for adults and children
Historical theme festivals are very popular events, usually associated with a museum activities for children on week-ends in big towns. The events are usually educational and entertaining, to make the learning interesting and history alive ( although the very idea of reviving the past is contradictory to the very meaning of the word 'past').
Recently the idea has been transfered and applied to another stage: tourist destinations. The reanactment events are staged all around the major popular destinations; from France, Italy to Croatia - variouse medieval tournaments with knights and princesses, romantic costumes and local heraldry.
Rab Medieval festival is such an historical show intended for tourist and locals alike. It is staged arround the historical medieval days, when Rab was at its peak and held the week long celebrations in honor of a patron Saint.
Historical back-ground: Fjera or Rab festival was first held in 1364.
in honor of the Saint Christopher whose holy intercession helped save the island from the norman invasion. During the time the island Rab was ruled by of the Louis I D'Anjou or Louis the Great,1326–82, King of Hungary (1342–82) and of Poland (1370–82).
The festival was held for a whole week during which a different legislation was held; for example; the exiles could return to the island, no taxes were collected, it was forbidden to beat your wife...
Since Rab was highly class-structured society, the whole event was defined in detail; who can participate at the tournament, the prices, the noble duties and honors, clergy and church involvement, knights rules etc.
These past times and custums was recorded in historical Statutes of Rab.
Most important instrument of the times was of course the crossbow; a classical Mediterranean antiquity used in warfare throughout Europe since the Roman times.
Formations of pikemen combined with crossbowmen whose weapons could penetrate most knights' armor were a very effective solution against armoured mounted knights. .
In Rab, besides the catapult and hot liquids, crossbow was the main weapon to deffend the town walls from the naval invadors and the arbalist occupied a central position in any defence strategy.
Present day Fjera has been modeled after that historical holiday, but has been shortened to only 3 days and adjusted to modern times and purpose.
Modern day knights, princesses and medieval participants are usually members of the local associations and local trades( Rab Crossbow society, different, Klapa bands, honey producers, local florists, fishermans etc) as well as individualists who show their product or passion. The whole event has been held as an local celebration of the past, rather that a full-blown tradition engaged for tourist entertainment. Except the locals, participants are also friends from abroad: Koenigsbrun and Republic of San Marino: Rab's twin-towns.
During these 3 nights( 25, 25th & 27th July) participants dress up in costumes and hold open air workshops and presentations of the medieval life. From custumes to traditional crafts such as pottery, painting, fishing, coinage, stitching, basket weaving, carpentry, stone cutting, fishermans show, home-made cooking, wool production... All that accommpanied by the sounds of a medievalist musicians or local gang song. The festival culminates with the parade and the crossbow archers tournament on the St. Christopher's square and the fireworks. The tournament is particularly interested, since the archers use the medieval crossbow.
Two knights and a lady with their performance from Koenigsbrun and of course, the whole troup from Republica di San Marino and Monte Giardino // archers, flagsmen, gents, craftsmen, musicians toghether with the folks and gents from Rab, make an impressive event. You are also welcome to dress up and join.