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Candlemas - The end of winter is near..
For 1045 years, the Festivity of St. Blaise has begun on Candlemas, February 2nd, the day before the main celebration of February 3rd, when the Bishop of Dubrovnik recites the archaic Laus prayer, and white doves, symbols of Dubrovnik's centuries of freedom, are freed while the magnificent flag of the patron saint Blaise is raised from Orlando's Column and the anthem ˝Hear ye St. Blaise...!˝ is enthusiastically sung from the heart.
Candlemas - The end of winter is near..

Every February 2nd Dubrovnik celebrates Candlemas – the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During this time people repeat the old saying: ˝Candlemas, winter’s end is near, Saint Blaise follows and says that it is a lie˝. Indeed, on this day, when inland cities are drenched in rain, and Europe is often covered with snow, Dubrovnik is full of mimosas, narcissi, and true sunny, spring days. In front of the patron saint's church, the Bishop of Dubrovnik recites the archaic Laus prayer, which praises the patron saint and his day, and then white doves are released. A special blessing, the blessing of the throat, is closely tied to the Festivity of Saint Blaise, when priests bless the faithful with two candles intertwined into a cross, protecting them from the diseases of the throat. A silver encased monstrance, the work Dubrovnik goldsmiths, contains the bones from the throat of the saint who is known to have been a miracle-worker and who healed by touch in the ancient city of Sebaste.

 

The opening ceremony begins with the gun salute of the Platoon of Dubrovnik Musketeers. In the early morning hours of the Festivity on February 3rd, it is the Musketeers who signal the start of this day of great importance for Dubrovnik. There is never shooting within the city walls, this is reserved for places just outside the walls like the Peskarija or Pile, where during the time of the Republic firing from rifles and cannons was practiced.

Photo credit: Igor Brautović

   
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