For the 1,046th year in a row, the people of the southern Croatian city of Dubrovnik will celebrate the city’s feast day – Sveti Vlaho – or St Blaise (Sveti Blaž) today.
The 3rd of February is the biggest day of the year in Dubrovnik and on Saturday thousands will again take part in traditional processions, flag waving, rituals, singing and performances dating back centuries.
Ever since the year 972, when the feast day of St Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint, was first celebrated, the day has been an extremely important one in the city’s calendar.
Festivities also include a Candle Mass and the release of white doves, the symbol of freedom and peace, in front of St Blaise’s Church and the raising of St Blaise’s flag on Orlando’s Column.
Saint Blaise was born in ancient Sebaste, a Rome-run area in Lesser Armenia. He was known as an extremely knowledgeable and charitable doctor who loved to take care of the poor and sick.
After becoming the Bishop of Sebaste he was martyred there in the year 316 being beaten, attacked with iron combs, and beheaded on 3 February.
The Festivity of St. Blaise is on UNESCO’s list of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Check out what is on the programme today here.