By Nika Bogdanic
Špica (shpitza) is a social phenomenon going on every Saturday morning and early afternoon in most cities in Croatia…
Since people don’t get enough free time during the week, they do all the things they didn’t have time for in one big spontaneous „event“. They go shopping in the city center, they run their errands, they catch up with friends and family in cafes and restaurants, together creating a famous Saturday morning commotion called špica.
The funny thing is that people rarely dress up to go shopping during the week, yet somehow everyone is at their best for špica. After all, it is an „event“ where you will definitely be seen and one should not show up without making an effort regarding his appearance. In order to get you a bit more acquainted with this phenomenon, these are some of the things that špica represents:
It’s a fashion runway: all of us sometimes feel like prancing in an outfit we got just right after hours of careful consideration. For those who are not professional models, there are alternative ways to prance. When you hit the špica you know you’ll be seen – the city centers are completely full at that time of a Saturday (between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM). You might even get your photo taken – magazine photographers walk around the city centers and award the best outfits by publishing their photos online or in magazines.
It’s a party for those who don’t party much: a lot of people reduced or stopped going out and partying at one point of their life. Someone outgrew partying (if that’s possible), someone has kids… However, even when a person stops going out it doesn’t mean it’s no longer a social being. The need for other people, for chatting, for crowded places, for some kind of happening remains. So those who miss the events on Friday night for whatever reason, make sure not to miss the „event“ on Saturday morning.
It’s a gossip magazine: we can all claim to be goodie-two-shoes but everyone likes a bit of gossip every now and then. If you want to avoid flipping through gossip magazines though, you should attend špica and get your cup of gossip first hand. You’ll see who is hanging out with whom, find out who stopped prancing together, who is wearing what, who is going where… And if you feel bad about gossiping, the fact that people at špica amongst other things gossip big time might make you feel a bit less guilty.
Social Media Network
It’s a social media network: only the street is your news feed, a smile from someone passing by is a like, and a frown is that annoying comment someone writes on your wall from time to time.
It’s a shopping mall: and thank God it is! While our lives are being relocated from the streets to shopping malls nowadays, Saturday morning špica still remains an „event“ where you shop in smaller stores and boutiques in the city centers, where you drink coffee outside rather than suffocating in a closed shopping mall cafe, where you eat in small restaurants rather than pulling in the drive-in and ordering.
City Preacher Pulpit
It’s a pulpit for the city preachers: as the city centers get crowded on Saturday mornings the perfect occasion for anyone who wishes to preach rises. There will always be someone who’ll listen to them preach for a while, even if it is just to laugh. So more often than not there’ll be at least one person yelling passionately about something (politics, humanity, religion, or whatever their cup of tea might be) while others look at them with confusing expressions on their faces.
It’s a stage: for musicians or any other kind of performers. More or less every city has its street artists, it’s just that during the špica they get the benefit of a big audience and their little corner of the street turns into a big stage. They even earn a few more bucks which makes their Saturday morning gig a true success.
It’s a gathering: whether you’re meeting up with friends you didn’t get to see during the busy week, family members that live on the other part of the city or you decide to go alone – because you will surely run into someone you know.
It’s a playground: this spontaneous weakly „event“ is attended by a lot of kids brought by their „event“ eager parents. While moms and dads catch up with their friends, prance in their outfits or listen to the latest gossip, the kids run around and have fun with other children whose parents brought them for the exact same reason.
It’s three cherries on a slot machine for cafe, bar and restaurant owners: we all know that Friday and Saturday night are the times of the week when the bars profit the most. However, big bucks are earned due to špica as well, where quite a large number of coffees, snacks and lunches are being sold.
In conclusion, špica is an „event“ that combines many many different things every Saturday morning. So if you happen to pass by a Croatian city center on a Saturday morning come and join us. Let’s prance!