Intangible cultural heritage

Lastovo Poklad

The exact year of the beginning of the Lastovo Poklad (Carnival) is unknown. The legend says that during the Moor siege of the town of Koručula, they sent their emissary to Lastovo to request that the people surrender. The people of Lastovo captured and jailed the emissary, so the enraged Moors directed their ships to Lastovo in order to conquer it. Suddenly, a storm rose and dispersed the enemy ships. The people of Lastovo showed the prisoner out and sat him on a donkey. They led him through the village in order to mock him. In the evening they strung a long piece of rope and lowered him from a hill, which is today called “Pokladareva grža”. Later, they took him to Dolac on a donkey and burnt him surrounded by pealing bells and cries. From then until today, the Lastovo Poklad has been held every year. It takes place according to strict rules and procedures. It is unlike any other event in the world.

It is one of the most valuable customs in the Republic of Croatia, as evidenced by the fact that on 17 January 2008 the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia declared the Lastovo Poklad an intangible cultural asset of the Republic of Croatia and protected it.

The Lastovo by-law

Seven hundred years ago, on a public congregation held in Lastovo on 10 January 1310 the “Lastovo By-Law” was adopted. It represents a book of regulations and customs of the assembly and municipality of the island of Lastovo. The book starts with a pledge of the Dubrovnik commune that it will respect all ancient customs of the islanders, who had voluntarily surrendered to the commune to the City of Dubrovnik. The compilation of 30 regulations that the first part of the By-Law, adopted that year, contained clearly described labour and social relations within the island community.

Legends

There are many legends about Lastovo and every inhabitant of this island has their own story. These are some of them…

  • there is a belief that in the village of Ubli, which is situated on the location of the archaeological excavation of the early Christian basilica of St. Peter, 12 golden statues of apostles have been buried
  • the population of Lastovo previously did not plant walnut trees because there was a belief that the walnut tree is the meeting point of witches, and white onions, the cure for all types of curses, were a favourite
  • witches would not leave them alone at points where a road divides into three parts: this was their meeting point, but the Rača cave, whose tunnel reached the sea, was inhabited by fairies
  • vampires were also frequent visitors; the population have accused them of an epidemic of food poisoning
  • where a palm tree grows – the family line dies out
  • The legend of Glavat – the Greek god Zeus sent his emissary to find the most beautiful island in the world. After a long search, the emissary stayed in this place because he could not decide, and he still stands there between the islands of Lastovo, Korčula and Mljet. Turned to stone.

People

It is very difficult to describe an average inhabitant of Lastovo in words, but one feature that they all share are their temperament, or their “dišpet”. They are loud and fun, they are very close to their families, they are ready to accept guests and are hospitable, because on Lastovo, you will never be thirsty or hungry. They are very hard-working; previously they engaged only in agriculture, viticulture and olive growing, animal husbandry, fishing and even working with corals and training eagles. However, today they work mainly in tourism and trade, but there are those who keep the old crafts, such as calafato shipbuilding, alive. Although there are not many of them, they are cut off from the mainland and some perks of modern life, they make up for it with their quality of life, spending time together and enjoying the pristine nature.