The unseasonably cold weather in Dalmatia and the unusual sight of snow on Hvar
, the sunniest island in the Adriatic, did little to slow down local enthusiasm for the celebration of the island's traditions on Saturday, February 4, 2012, as more than 200 people descended on Hotel Hvar in the northern resort town of Jelsa to attend a charity dinner dance organised by the association Jelsa KUD, an event covered by Digital Journal.
At the heart of the evening's festivities was a range of songs and dances in traditional costume by the schoolchildren of the town, accompanied by the accordion, dances which are native to Dalmatia. The event was organised by the the newly-revived Jelsa Art and Cultural Association, which had been inactive since 1989 (when is was known as the Ciro Gamulin KUD) until Perica Mileta resurrected the association under its current name in 2011. The association now has 86 active members, and its focus is on the folklore, dances and songs of Dalmatia.
The Jelsa KUD is one of a series of initiatives in recent years to better promote the rich cultural heritage of the island, and the town of Jelsa opened a small museum
last year to showcase its history and heritage, the latest exhibition being part of the nationwide Museum Night
in January. Other local associations on Hvar such as Tartajun
with its dormouse festival in Dol, and Pjover
with its lavender festival in Velo Grablje are adding another dimension to the tourist island better known for its beaches and nightlife.
The traditional dancing was followed by a more modern disco as the Viva band from Split performed a set which had all ages on the dance floor, as they played in between courses of a gala dinner to honour the traditions and customs of the Carnival, whose festivities begin next week and are one of the most eagerly-awaited events out of the tourist season.