Croatian tradition of koleda and veselanje

Journal of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, No. 1, 2008

Original scientific paper

Marko Dragić   ORCID icon ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Splitu, Split, Croatia 

pages 21-43

01_02_Dragic PDF


In this paper, the author interprets Croatian Koleda (Christmastime ritual songs) and Veselanje (named so by the refrain „veselo” which means „merrily”) rituals and the oral lyric songs that accompanied them. The paper contains the largest number of original modern recordings recorded in field work by students of the Faculty of Philosophy in Split and the Faculty of Philosophy-Humanities of the University of Mostar. This paper deals with Koleda customs from various parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burgenland in Austria, Rekaša in Rumania, as well as Veselanje rituals from Herzegovina and Korčula. Koleda and Veselanje rituals have their roots in ancient pre-Christian times. With the Croats, these rituals have been Christianised. The songs accompanying the Koleda and Veselanje rituals are diverse in their subject matter. There are love, mythical, historical and religious ones. Quite a number of such songs have an anthological value.


Koleda; Christian Croatian ritual oral lyric songs; folk customs; veselanje