Bećarac: melodies that combine satire, humor and tradition!

Beyond its stunning coastline and great parties often associated with Croatia, this country boasts a wealth of traditional values and heritage, which peak from every corner. Some of these cultural roots run so deep that some individuals might begin learning about them before even mastering how to speak, which shows how tradition and heritage play a big role in shaping of the identity.

One such tradition, which is equally enjoyed as much as criticized, is bećarac.

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Bećarac, Photo: Julien Duval, Croatian Tourist Board

 

What is bećarac?

In its simplest form, bećarac is singing, speaking, dancing, and playing—a blend of humor, satire, and tradition. It is a unique way of performance that spread across Slavonia, Baranja, and Srijem even reaching the hearts of those in Hungary and Vojvodina in Serbia.

Bećarac is typically performed at traditional weddings and all sorts of gatherings to bring joy and laughter. Despite its intended lightheartedness, some individuals argue that the content of bećarac lyrics can at times cross the line and become overly offensive.

 

How is bećarac performed?

The main role is played by the lead singer, who begins with the first verse, and repeated by the others in a form of a chior. The text of the bećarac involves a couplet consisting of two tens, and the last words of the verses rhyme. The second verse usually adds the humor into the lyrics.

Bećarac is predominantly improvised, often sparked by the current occasion or the creativity of the lead singer. The whole performance additionally accompanied by a tambura band playing in the background which add the livelihood to the nature of this tradition.

 

Check the video to see how it sounds!

 

 

In order to show how important bećarac is, UNESCO listed it on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011.

 

Bećarac, Photo: Julien Duval, Croatian Tourist Board

 

To further honor its importance, a Museum of Bećarac was opened in the city of Pleternica, situated between Požega and Slavonski Brod. Within the museum, visitors can explore the evolution of this tradition, receive guidance on how to perform it, and, most importantly, experience the joy and fun that lie at the heart of bećarac.

What’s great is that even before making plans to visit it, you can head on a a virtual walk  and get a sneak peek into museums exhibition and what to expect. You can easily access it from here

So what do you say? Could you see yourself performing one?

 

 

 

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