International ethno meetings Danube – Drava are traditionally held every year, where a local population can show its rich cultural heritage. It is a gathering place for a people who live along the Danube and Drava. Extensive range of local dishes, drinks, local creativety, souvenirs, native agricultural products, customs, dances and songs brings together a large number of people living in the area with those two European rivers. The participants indicate how many things they have in common, but they also show the richness of diversity. The role of ethnic fair is to preserve, protect and cherish cultural and natural heritage of the Podunavlja.
Ethno meetings are usually beginning on the water, medium for centuries crucial for the life of the inhabitants along Kopački rit, Old Drava and all those channels which network together municipality of Bilje. Precisely the Ethno meetings were new connection betwenne customs and daily routines of the people who live in this beautiful area. Ethno meeting begins with fishing competitions, and continues with offer of organic products, cakes, handicrafts and souvenirs. Every year gathers more people and sets up more stands.
The food is diverse, from roasted ox to the fish dishes – fish stew and carp on a fork. Children have a unique opportunity to see the folk pottery workshops, where the visitors can try out the potter’s wheel, while for the older ones – is more attractive brandy distillation apparatus in the real Pecara, a real rarity in this modern era of factory production without a soul. Children can enjoy on the ethno carousel, jump through the straw, which was prepared, along the sculptures by Association “Slama” from the Lug, and all guests can enjoy a ride in a horse-draw carriage. The members of the Association of Old Sports Bilje give their contribution to ethno fair by organizing the competition in pulling rope, mosor and arm wrestling.
Although they might not admit it, largest number of guests reach at the event in the municipality Bilje for something what other parts of the Croatian don’t have: a unique selection of fish dishes, especially fish stew whose scent an early evening breeze carried away up to Osijek Sjenjak. Carps, whit there specific sweet smell and taste of the Danube and Kopački Rit, and pike in mundiru (specific prepared mixture for frying), a special treat for a real fishermen, river- and wetland lovers. In today’s time of busyness and shallowness, Ethnic meetings bring us back to old times, even though in many ways poorer and harder, certainly have something to say to modernism.
In fact, mayby our future lies in the revival of tradition, whose wealth is “competitive advantage” for us in today’s world. The God-given nature and our customs serve us as family silver. We only need to understand them and to love.
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Photography Copyright: Pavo Nikolić, Domagoj Blažević, Damir Rajle
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