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Original scientific paper

Carnival Elements in the Wedding Customs in Lovretic's Otok and their Counterparts in Other Croatian Regions

Nevena Škrbić Alempijević ; Filozofski fakultet Zagreb. Odsjek za etnologiju i kulturnu antropologiju

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The attempt of this paper is to elucidate the role of Josip Lovretic (1865 - 1948), a dedicated researcher of traditional culture of his birth village Otok, near Vinkovci, in collecting and analysing carnivalesque elements in local customs, especially weddings.

The author of the paper takes several directions in examining the carnivalesque elements in Lovretic's Otok. She presents the most common “carriers” of the carnivalesque features in Otok weddings (the master of the ceremony, musicians, cooks and chefs). She refers to certain moments during the wedding party which are most frequently related to the carnival forms of presentation. She analyses specific carnival paraphernalia which appear in wedding customs, first and foremost the wedding doll. Finally, she draws attention to specific humorous forms of presentation whose aim is to parody life in the community and inveterate
hierarchical relationships within the family.

All the mentioned wedding elements were examined in a broad spatial and chronological context with a reference to their analogies in other Croatian places.

From these examples the author of the paper concludes that Lovretic’s Otok stands out from what used to be the inveterate idealising way of presenting the traditional life and customs. Also, the descriptions of characters, plays and procedures which show signs of symbolic inversion of the relationships in the community and transgressive freedom of presentation are exceptionally rare in the book. Instead, the book quite clearly shows the author’s awareness of the fact that the humorous dimension is an integral segment of the wedding customs to the same extent as they are determined by their ceremonial parts.


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