We are six months into the year and to welcome in the beginning of the second half of the year Korčula celebrates New (half) year on the 30th of June. A tradition they started around twenty years ago. The reason for this is apparently because most of the younger population leave the island in search of jobs and usually return around this time of the year to spend time with the family. To celebrate the occasion there is a masquerade parade, concert and fireworks in the Old Town.
Most of the hotel guests take the water taxi. We opt to take the short walk around Korčula lake. The walk takes us past olive and pine trees. Part of the road is under construction and is cordoned off and gets narrow in places. It is still light and the sun is just setting. We join locals and tourists as they make their way into town. Cruise ships have arrived bringing in hoards of tourists, all keen to join in the festivities. The restaurants are packed and musicians are serenading the customers. Swifts are busy circling the skies. I read some interesting facts about swifts later. These birds spend all their time in the air apart from when they are nesting. They even sleep on the wing.
As we approach the Square in the Old Town we manage to catch the tail end of the parade. Children in white tutus and fairy dresses skip along. A group of women dressed in identical ‘Super woman’ outfits are speaking animatedly. A couple of them have dressed their babies in the mini version of their outfits. Pirates mingle with Clowns and Scuba divers. Butterflies, Snakes and Russian dolls all disperse once the parade ends and concert starts. At one end of the Square an outdoor discotheque is in full swing. At the other end a band is singing Croatian songs and revellers are joining in and singing along.
We stay for a bit and make our way back to the hotel. The dancing is going to carry on till the wee hours of the morning and at midnight fireworks is planned. We were advised not to take the same road back at night because of the construction work and potholes in the road but we risk it. Street lights are present only part of the way and at other parts moonlight is not enough to guide us. The lake is still with just a faint ripple along the surface. Speedboats are moored along the edge of the lake. The night sky is full of shining stars and in the distance the lights along the Old Town harbour port are twinkling. The concert music is now a faint thumping noise. It is a pleasantly warm night. I wonder what people will be wishing each other in the morning- ‘Happy half New Year’? Probably not, but any excuse for a party especially on an evening like this is greatly appreciated.