Traditional crepe-paper decorations making in Croatia

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Traditional crepe-paper decorations making in Croatia
Domain: Traditional craftsmanship
Element inscribed on the National ICH Register of Croatia

 

In the north-western and central part of Croatia, a technique of making decorations from crepe paper has been known for certainly several centuries, as research shows. The flowers and other types of decorations (figurines, chains) have been used for decorating various objects and spaces on various occasions. The most specific ones are decorating the house at Christmas time before the appearance of Christmas tree, decorating wooden and other types of holy crosses on the paths and cemetery, and decorating space on various festivities such as weddings, baptisms and other life or religious celebrations.

Besides individuals who keep the knowledge within their family circles, since the inscription of the artistry into the national Registry as intangible cultural good in 2007, the making of crepe-paper flowers has been popularized in museums (e.g. Open Air Museum of Kumrovec) and by NGOs. Since 2019, NGO „Magda and Luisa“ from Madžarevo led by its head Tibor Martan, teacher and ethnologist, has been organizing a special festival of traditional decorations made from crepe paper and it has been very well accepted by the local inhabitants as well as by guests, including minorities, from Croatia. The idea is to broaden the participation on international level also. The festival is supported on local, national and European level (co-funded by the European Social Fund). The organization is supported by the local public educational center (Open University), Centre of Traditional Culture in Varaždin, Association of Retired Persons and the Town of Novi Marof. In this way viability is ensured so that the element reaches the widest population as possible and that experience is shared among the participants. At the end of the Festival, the decorations made are shown to the public and in this way the work of more than 20 NGOs and pupil’s entrepreneurship groups from Central and Northern Croatia are presented each year. In addition to the workshops during the Festival, educational lectures, exhibitions and promotional events have been organized throughout the year with the goal of raising the visibility of the element in the public.