Every place has its celebration, and every place has its day…
So say the verses of the famous Croatian song, and it’s true – every town in Dalmatia has its own festivity. But the biggest one of all is the one in Split – ‘the most beautiful place in the world’. And this one is happening today, on May 7th – St Dujam Day and Split City Day.
St Dujam (lat. Dominus) was born in present-day Syria. He was a bishop in Salona (present-day Solin), and lived during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305). He was executed in 304 during the great persecution of Christians.
Legend has it – when Bishop Dujam revived the dead in front of the imperial governor Mark Aurelius, he was executed, along with other martyrs at the amphitheater in Salona, by order of Emperor Diocletian.
Centuries later, the relics of St. Dominus were moved to the imperial mausoleum in Split – which was pronounced a cathedral on this occasion. Since then, he has been worshiped by all members of the Roman Catholic faith, especially the people in Split who often call his name for help.
Destiny writes the most unusual ‘manuscripts,’ so the Split we know today exists thanks to two mortal enemies – Diocletian and Dujam. If it were not for Emperor Diocletian who decided to spend his retirement right here in the most beautiful corner of the Universe, there would likely be no Split. And if it were not for the worship of Dujam, Split would not be as we know it today.
Today, the church of St. Dujam on Peristyle square with its striking bell tower, is one of the main attractions in Split. It is a place that every visitor in Split will love seeing, along with the residents who like to drink coffee on Peristyle overlooking the proud guardian of the city center.
The celebration of St. Dujam day lasts not only one day but the whole week before May 7th. The beginning of the ceremony is marked by the Holy Cross Festival on May 2 and 3, in one of the oldest and most beautiful suburbs – Veli Varoš. On this day, the alpinists climb the cathedral of St. Dujam to place the Croatian flag. After this, the Flower Festival starts right in the cellars of the Diocletian’s palace, followed by the traditional rowing race of the British universities Oxford and Cambridge in the city harbor, as well as many concerts and art events around Split’s parks and squares. It all ends on May 7th with the grand procession that starts from St. Dujam Cathedral that involves carrying the relics around the old city center. Later in the day, there are celebrations in the city – the big raffle on the waterfront, and many concerts and events throughout the city streets.
This year, like everything else, this day will be different. But for the next year, book the date in your calendar and make sure you are in Split for this festivity you will never forget!
We salute you with: Na dobro vam došla Sudamja!