Home » Entertainment » Balote is more than just a game for Dalmatians

Balote is more than just a game for Dalmatians

Why balote is more than just a game in Dalmatia 

Why balote is more than just a game in Dalmatia

In Croatia, the game of bocce is known as balote, boćanje, or buće, depending on whereabouts you are, and in Dalmatia, the game is a way of life and an important part of the culture.

The name of the game is to roll a set of balls as close as possible to a smaller target ball, called the jack in English, and points are awarded to the team with the bocce ball closest to the jack.

The game can be played with two players or with teams of two, three, or four players.

The game is perfect for socialising and spending time with friends, and the fact that it can be played outdoors with minimal equipment means that it quickly became a favourite in the Mediterranean, where the game originated.

Boćanje: An integral part of Croatian coastal life

(Photo credit: Roberta F./CC BY-SA 3.0)

The origins of the game can be traced back to ancient Rome, where it was played by soldiers and emperors alike. Over time, the game evolved and spread throughout Italy, becoming a popular pastime for people in both rural and urban areas.

The game has been played for a long time in Croatia’s Dalmatia region, and it is a symbol of the region as well as a way of life. In Dalmatia, the game began in the area of what was the Republic of Poljica, an area east of Split above the Cetina Canyon.

The men in the villages mainly played on Sundays and holidays, but also in the early evening after a morning of work in the fields, lunch, and their afternoon nap. The game gave them balance and enjoyment away from the hard, physical work that they were doing daily.

The golden age of balote in Dalmatia was in the 1880s and 1890s, but the first organised ‘official’ match would take place in 1952 in Zagreb, almost 60 years after it started to be played in Dalmatia.

Boćanje An integral part of Croatian coastal life

(Photo credit: ahenobarbus/CC BY 2.0

One of the reasons why balote became such an important part of Dalmatian life was because of its accessibility. The game could be played by people of all ages and skill levels, making it a great way for people to come together and socialise.

Another reason why balote is so popular in Croatia is because of the sense of community that it fosters. When people gather to play, they are often surrounded by friends and family, and the game serves as a way for people to connect and bond with one another.

The game is often played in public areas, which means that it is an opportunity for people to interact with their neighbours and locals, who can take a seat on a nearby bench and watch and, of course, critique.

Croatians are also able to connect with their past and honour the traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, so today a balote playing area can be found in most villages in Dalmatia.

Boćanje: An integral part of Croatian coastal life

Trogir (Photo credit: ahenobarbus/CC BY 2.0)

For many tourists who manage to stumble upon a game going on, they often think a war is about to break out, but it’s just the locals discussing the game in their typical ‘passionate’ way.

Balote is important because it is a way for people in Dalmatia to relax and enjoy life. In a region that values enjoying life, balote is seen as a way to relax and enjoy the moment with friends.

It is a game that encourages people to take their time, enjoy good company, and appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

Sign up to receive the Croatia Week Newsletter

Related Posts