St. Tryphon's Day Festivity and Kolo of St. Tryphon – Traditions of Boka Croats in Croatia

St. Tryphon's Day Festivity and Kolo of St. Tryphon – Traditions of Boka Croats in Croatia represents the cultural heritage preserved by the Croats that moved to Croatia from Boka Kotorska in Montenegro. The community of Boka Croats in Croatia relates to the traditions of Boka Kotorska, the Boka Navy as famous seafarers, a guild and a Mediterranean type fraternity. Today, the Boka Croats in Croatia constitute a large community, organised in fraternities under the shared name “Croatian Fraternity of the Boka Navy 809” and active in Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Split and Dubrovnik.

The spirituality of Boka Croats is inevitably related to worshipping of St. Tryphon, whose relics were brought to Boka in 809 and St. Tryphon has been worshipped as the patron Saint of Kotor, Kotor Diocese and Boka Navy. There is also a circle dance dedicated to St. Tryphon.  This circle dance is quite often referred to as “Kolo of the Boka Navy” since only the squads of the Boka Navy dance it.

The work has it that the circle dance was danced for the first time when the relics of St. Tryphon were brought to Kotor in 809, and that is why it is also called the Circle Dance of St. Tryphon. The Feast of St. Tryphon is celebrated by going to church and by dancing (balanje) the circle dance. Before the mass, a Little Admiral, a selected boy (7 to 10 years of age) recites praises to St. Tryphon (lode). Additionally, names of the members of the Boka community deceased in the past are read out by the priest during the mass or by the President of the Boka Fraternity after the mass. The, epistles by the Kotor bishop are read intended for the entire Boka community in Boka and all over the world. There is always a gathering after the mass where people dance the St. Tryphon circle dance and enjoy the traditional Boka meals.

Boka community also organise the traditional Night of Boka that includes dancing, but also other cultural events such as exhibitions and concerts. The Night of Boka is organised in various cities, but on different dates in the period from February to April. Boka Croats in Croatia call these gatherings St. Tryphon's Day Festivity and they use them to present themselves to public. The tradition of Boka Croats in Croatia as intangible cultural element is a symbolic point of viability of the community of Boka Croats in Croatia that fills up their spiritual unity.