New Year in Croatia is marked by a massive carnival in Rijeka with colourful costumes, music, delicious foods, and all-night festivities. Established in 1982, it has become the biggest carnival in Croatia. The opening event—Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant—marks the beginning of the masked madness in the city. More than 100 music bands usually participate in the carnival. If the weather is good, up to 100,000 spectators may attend the event.
The festivities usually last for more than a month, ending with Children's Carnival Parade and the Grand Finale—International Carnival Parade (usually held on Sunday preceding Ash Wednesday).
International Carnival Parade (February 11, 2024)
The International Carnival Parade is the largest annual event in Kvarner Bay. The fascinating procession, featuring hundreds of floats and thousands of masked characters, is prepared by urban carnival groups and citizen’s associations. The festivities typically kick off at noon on the main stage in front of the City Hall. The mayor of Rijeka, the carnival Queen, and Meštar Toni greet all parading groups.
The parade ends at about 9 pm. But the fun doesn't stop! The public moves to Rijeka harbor to see the burning of the Pust. The ritual where Pust is a puppet, representing some politician, is supposed to get rid of all hardships that took place during the year that ended.