Anyone who has spent time on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast will know that the area is home to some fabulous traditions and interesting phenomenon. One of those is Fjaka.
Fjaka, a slang term for a particular relaxed state of body and mind, can best be described as the ‘sweetness of doing nothing’ or being in a ‘day-dreamy state’.
The people in Dalmatia value this state highly. Some even like to believe that Fjaka helps cure diseases, and makes you look and feel younger.
The Dalmatian phenomenon could be on its way to spreading around the world. First Britain’s leading news broadcaster BBC featured Fjaka and now the world’s most-read website, the Daily Mail, has featured Fjaka in its trends of 2018.
“Relaxing your body and your mind and delighting in the feeling of doing nothing,” is how the Daily Mail describes Fjaka on its list of 10 buzzwords trending in 2018.
Other trends from around the world on the list included Gluggavedur from Iceland, which means window weather – lovely to look at but unpleasant to be in outside, Kanso from Japan, which means keeping things simple by eliminating clutter and the Greek Philoxenia, which means welcoming strangers into your home with love and respect.
Loreta Kovacic, who grew up in Split, takes a closer look at Fjaka for us.
In my head I hear a song sung in “klapa” style:
“FJAKA, you save my life, FJAKA, you are my remedy,
You make me happy when I’m super slow
You turn my life around when I embrace your flow”
Southern Croatians also known as Dalmatians really nurture their own ability to slow themselves down into this day-dreamy state.
Growing up around Split, I was introduced to fjaka early on, just like all other kids in our “kala” (street). After immigrating to USA I realized how precious this ability really is. I just had to share it.
Fjaka is good for your health
Fjaka helps cure diseases, makes you look and feel younger so what more do you want.
Ok ok, here is more….It helps metabolism, it improves your immunity, it helps your creativity, your productivity, your well being, your relationships, even your sex life!
Origins of Fjaka
To us Dalmatian people it is a highly valued state.
We are never ashamed about our fjaka, on the contrary, we are so very proud of our fjaka in every way:
We can recognize and respect each other’s fjaka and we teach it to our children and loved ones. Fjaka has been in our genes for generations. Fjaka can, therefore, be viewed as our national and cultural heritage.
Fjaka Revolution in the West
In especially western society, people are not proud to be “unproductive”, but in fact, being unproductive is a necessary prerequisite to being productive and westerners still do not take this endeavor with the seriousness it deserves.
I am calling for a social and psychological revolution that we need in the developed world in order to change our state of mind and to accept the true value of being unproductive, hence the true value of Fjaka.
Fjaka crosses social and class barriers because it is for both the rich and the poor. However, middle class might be the most unfortunate, because they simply have no time to fjaka around….and this is a good reason for a revolution!
Fjaka is for everyone
Fjaka is for everyone because It is natural and super easy! To get into fjaka, just lay down in a comfortable spot Like your bed: Relax and don’t move. You can sit if you prefer. The goal is to expel the least amount of energy on your part…Try not to think, because thinking interferes with fjaka.
Try to really enjoy your surroundings, whatever they are: the sounds, smells and visions that surround you. Pick a beautiful spot, like your bed, or a comfy spot on the porch, or a nice spot on an empty Dalmatian beach, or, if you like sounds of the crowd, a park bench near a busy market or a cozy spot in the middle of a busy downtown bar…
Start in small increments 15 minutes then increase gradually to any length desired. More than 5 years can cause problems with your landlord.
If someone starts to talk to you while you are in fjaka you may reply or not. If someone tries to distract you from fjaka, you might welcome the opportunity to get out of your fjaka or, if you are a true fjaka master, you might simply remain in fjaka.
In that case, you will see, but really not see anything at all, you will remain unfazed by the events surrounding you. This helps in many situations like wars and such…. Your distraction will not feel like an abrupt uncomfortable interruption as you might feel if the same thing happens while you are meditating, rather it feels like a tiny inconvenience. Therefore, fjaka is a more flexible state then meditation.
Fjaka is free
Fjaka is for everyone because no classes and tuition fees are necessary as it is the case with yoga and meditation.
Fjaka is similar to Yoga & Meditation
Fjaka is similar to a yoga pose or to meditation. But Fjaka is better because it is a God-given gift to all of us!
People who practice meditation and yoga or people who know how to turn off their thinking and working brain can do fjaka very easily. The ones who are not naturals at this process may value fjaka more because it may truly transform and greatly improve their lives.
To summarize, FJAKA IS FOR YOUR HEALTH AND FOR LIFE. You can do it too, so start now and have a great fjaka season whatever it may be. (for us Dalmatians, it is all year).
AIME, vata me fjaka! Translation: oooh, I am being caught by fjaka.