ZA KRIŽEN - Procession of the Cross - UNESCO World intangible Cultural Heritage
Procession of the Cross is a Passion-tide event that takes place each year on the night between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. It takes place in the parishes of Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Vrboska and there are six processions. Moving clockwise from church to church the Cross of Jelsa goes to Pitve, the Cross of Pitve goes to Vrisnik, the Cross of Vrisnik goes to Svirče, the Cross of Svirče goes to Vrbanj, the Cross of Vrbanj goes to Vrboska, and finally the Cross of Vrboska goes to Jelsa. It is a rule that each procession goes by itself, but they all go over mainly the same route that is almost 22 km long. After 8 hours of walking each Cross goes back to its church. It is a special honour to be the cross-bearer, but it is not an easy assignment, namely the Cross weights around 18 kg. This is the reason why the cross-bearer has 2 helpers and two men following with candles. The believers sing old folk songs and two main singers sing The Lady’s Weeping in each church. During procession the Cross must be in the centre, surrounded by stewards and pilgrims carrying lanterns, they wear white mass vestments and are followed by plenty of believers and pilgrims that take part in this unique tradition.
The tradition is 500 years old and the first written record dates from 1658. This tradition is on the UNESCO Representative list of World Intangible Cultural Heritage.