Unije is a very small island in the Kvarner archipelago, and is the western most inhabited Croatian island in the Adriatic.
The island has less than one hundred year-round residents, it may not have cars, nor hotels, but what it does have is people in its diaspora that are committed to preserving its unique culture.
It is estimated that there are about 2000 people descended from Unije living in the U.S. and Canada, with most living in the New York-New Jersey area. In the summer many Unijani return back to Unije for vacation in their family’s homesteads.
The Women’s Club of Unije, a New York based organization, spearheads keeping the Unijan community together with a lot of dedication. Recently, on Sunday November 24th, the Unijani got together in Secaucus, New Jersey for a dinner dance to celebrate “Jadrinja” St. Andrew’s Day – honoring the island’s patron saint.
“People came from as far away as Seattle, Atlanta and New England to be with their own “od naši” kin. With all the new internet connections such as ancestry.com, many people are now enthusiastically searching for the first time for their roots and new to be found relatives. The Jadrinja is the place to meet-face-to-face…..and upon discovery many of the faces can look similar and very familiar! The most common question overheard in conversation at the Jadrinja is always: “So how am I related to you?”, said Anton Angelich, President Lodge 1981, Istria & Kvarner – Long Island.