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Croatian community in Seattle keeping traditions alive 

Croatians in Seattle keeping traditions alive

(Photo: Private album)

After a three year hiatus, members of Seattle’s Croatian community gathered at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany Croatian style, with Festa Tri Kralja, an annual celebration of the 12th Day of Christmas.

The day began with Catholic Mass at 1030AM with Father Matthew Oakland, pastor of Holy Rosary presiding in English. The parts of the mass, composed by Thomas Yeseta, and Croatian Christmas Hymns arranged by conductor John Morovich and the late Walter W. Kolar, were performed by a 35 member tamburitza orchestra and choir. 

Croatians in Seattle keeping traditions alive

(Photo: Private album)

A colorful large procession included 22 members of the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans wearing vibrant traditional folk garments of Medjimurje and the Island of Susak. After Communion, the young Tamburitzans stepped onto the altar and sang two traditional Dalmatian Christmas carols, during which a second collection was taken to benefit orphanages in Zagreb and Hrvatski Leskovac. 

Croatians in Seattle keeping traditions alive

(Photo: Private album)

Over the last 25 years, Festa Tri Kralja has raised a total over $100,000 USD to the orphanages and other charitable causes in Croatia.

Following Mass, over 300 people gathered in the Lanigan Gymnasium for a traditional Zadar style pasta lunch using an authentic recipe brought to the Puget Sound Region over 100 years ago.

Croatians in Seattle keeping traditions alive

(Photo: Private album)

The meat sauce must be cooked the day before and simmered overnight. Guests were treated to homemade Croatian cookies and desserts. 

Croatians in Seattle keeping traditions alive

(Photo: Private album)

Lively Croatian music was provided by the tamburitza orchestra and choir which included guests from Vancouver, BC Canada, Oregon and Chicago.

Croatians in Seattle keeping traditions alive

(Photo: Private album)

Although Seattle does not have a Croatian church, many Croatian gatherings are held at Holy Rosary located in West Seattle, where a tightly knit Croatian community of several hundred families originally settled at the turn of the 20th Century; many tracing hailing from the Islands of Zlarin, Prvic, Korcula, Susak and Ilovik. 

Croatians in Seattle keeping traditions alive

(Photo: Private album)

The greater Puget Sound Region is home to approximately 40,000 Croatian Americans in a 100 mile radius.

The event was co-produced by Croatian Fraternal Union of American “Sinovi Hrvatske Domovine” Lodge 439, The Seattle Junior Tamburitzans and Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

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