Every person of Zlarin descent has memories and is nostalgic for days of yore, and the reason for that is very simple: they were better off then. They lived in poverty, scarcity, without basic home appliances, media, IT gear or hygiene supplies. However, they were better off then. Every day they used to till their land and work in their vineyards and olive groves with astonishing easiness, and they carried as much as they could take on their backs and heads. They washed their clothes in wells, took care of their animals and built houses with their bare hands. They also built the biggest boardwalk on the Adriatic Sea. They built a cistern where they kept water. They wore folk costumes, danced and sang whenever they had time. They worked as one. And they guarded this island like the apple of their eye, always thinking how they could help and improve the island’s development. They had no money, only their arms and legs. They would eat what they had grown, they would lie down early and get up at the crack of dawn. And I know why, my grandmother told me – “God forbid if someone comes to your house, and you’re still in bed. You would never get married nor would anyone want you as a bride. Who has ever slept until midday?”
The way of pronouncing words and the softness of the local dialect, the pronunciation of the sounds č and ć, the vivid stories, you can hear all this rarely, but barba Mladen Bjažić is one example of a person by whom you can hear it, and he is trying to pass it on to the younger generations with all his heart. He’s been organizing a workshop called “Neka zvoni ČA” (let the word ča be heard) for the past 10 years and he always welcomes all people in search of cultural heritage and tradition. Every year, there are more and more lecturers with the most diverse professions who want to pass on their wisdom from as many diverse life circumstances as possible. This year the lecturers were Zdenka Gregov, Srećko Ljuba, Boris Gregov, Dario Gregov, Vinko Alfier et al. During the four days the workshop lasted, I heard and learned a lot about those times and I’m sorry that I didn’t live them myself. What my grandmother taught me about those times was a precious experience to me and I can’t even imagine how precious it would have been to have lived then. I am inspired by all the stories I’ve heard and the past for which I didn’t really care for. I wanted to encourage or at least show people that this workshop is not strenuous, it’s not an obligation or something else, it is a school of love, wisdom and mirth, a school which everyone should pass. And to remember everyday what is most important in our lives. In honor of barba Mladen and his devotion, idea and love to this island and the world, the final evening, to which everybody is invited, will be organized on August 12. His poet friends Dinko Škevin and Ivan Dobra will come too, as will many dance groups from cultural artistic associations “Spužvar” (from the island of Krapanj), “Koledišće” (from Jezero) and our local association “Koralj”. Members of ”Koledišče” will also be reciting poems by their famous poet and publicist Josip Tomin. A special surprise (as a special thanks to barba Mladen and all these years of his activity) is planned for the end of the evening, one which will make all people from Zlarin proud.
August 12, at 9 p.m.
Organizer: Cultural Artistic Society “Koralj“ and Zlarin Tourist Board