Sunday, August 4, 2013


Yesterday was day 2 of the 3 day Sinjska alka festival, called Čoja. It followed the same structure as the prior day - the same pageantry, processions, and colors except for a slightly larger monetary prize and 3.11 meter bolt of fine red cloth, rather than the shorter bolt of green cloth given to the prior days winner.
I stood in a different place as well, closer to the start of the run, rather than in the stands near the alka that is lanced. Where I stood today had revealed a different chapter of the story. There, I saw the knights as the waited for the trumpet to blare and their name announced. Children would hold the waiting horses, and then when the time approached for their run, some knights would ride in circles around the Sinjska alka statue at the head of the path, while others would sit and relax, only getting up at the last moment. There was no rhyme or reason as to which was the better method. The man who won was one of the guys relaxing, cool as a cucumber, until the last moment. It worked wonders for him - of three runs, twice hit lanced the alka right in the center.
In less than an hour I leave for the final final day of the festival, when the knights dress in the fanciest clothes, replicating the uniforms of the soldiers 298 years ago. It's 37 degrees celsius outside right now. I think it's a good guess that tonight a lot of beer will be drunk by the glorius Alka sinjska knights.

I shot these drawings on my ipad, so the quality is a bit weak. When I'm back in Geneva, I'll make some higher quality scans and create an album on my viewbook site. I have to go now - time to prepare  for Sinjska alka!

The knights assistants - called 'boys' -  parade
No parade is complete without a band

A boy holds a waiting horse

A horse bursts with expectant energy, ready to bold down the lane

2 knights pace around the statue while one begins his run

The horses quickly bolt past

Another knight begins his run toward glory

And the winner receives 3.11 meters of fine red cloth (and some money)

Afterwards, in Sijn, people relax and mingle into the evening

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