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For centuries have the people from Slavonia and Syrmia kept their traditional treasure at the bottom of chest until the modern world revealed it again, admiring its beauty and diversity. Today, the traditional culture of the Vukovar-Srijem County is a contemporary Croatian brand in either a modern or a reconstructed form.
The skill of making gold-embroidery and traditional female hair-styles has been turned into perfection. The production of wool rolled coats “rekla, špenzla or fusekla”, sheepskin/fur products and traditional hats has been passed from generation to generation with much love. The song has always been an integral part of life in Slavonia and Syrmia. Many old crafts like construction of bagpipes and playing bagpipes, playing tamburitza, construction of orchestra tambura, but also traditional-vocal instrumental melodies prove that. The most famous among them, playful “bećarac” and “svatovac” even today amuse peaceful rural everyday life. People spontaneously nurture religious folk singing, old-town songs and “šetano kolo” (walking dance). Until today people have preserved gingerbread production/craft, the art of production of shingle for covering roofs, the art of gourd decoration in Gradište, and inevitable production of kulen/kulin (paprika-flavored salami). Without doubt the Vukovar-Srijem County has the most manifestations presenting tradition in almost every place, and among them there is a unique “Spring procession” on St. Philip’s in Komletinci. Barefooted girls, dressed in white traditional costumes holding leafy hornbeam branches call for improvement in the next period. All these are protected immaterial phenomena, 18 out of 118 in the whole of Croatia.
Famous Slavonian and Syrmian hospitality is far known as a part of the tradition here, and it can be felt in tourist rural husbandries that originate from old traditional Slavonian-Syrmian homes, farms, meadows, but also Hungarian family estates and others. The home-made gastronomy has been raised to the level of a cult. Slavonian-Syrmian kulen is the king of smoke-dried products, plum brandy is a god’s drop, and the old saying “keep to old wine and old friend” is still worth. Bees are god’s creatures, they progress where justice and honesty rule, and then there will be honey and various dishes and desserts. Along with that songs and playing, dance and jokes – a wide, joyful and big Slavonian soul are inevitable.
There is a truthful legend tied to the sanctuary of “Mother of Good Hope” in Šumanovci, that was sung in a song “Šumanovci” by a famous Slavonian poetess Mara Švel Gamiršek. "…Molila je Gospu, kršćana pomoći, da pronađe lijek i ozdravi oči... Zvijezdama krunjena, kao mjesec sjajna, pristupila k njoj je Gospa, divna bijela…Vidi bunar kod sedmoga hrasta! Idi i operi kod njeg bolne oči… pomoć će ti brzo i sigurno doći" (She pleaded Our Lady, to help the Christian, to find the cure and heel her eyes…with stars crowned, bright as a Moon, Our Lady approached her, wonderfully white…See the well near the seventh oak! Go there and wash your sore eyes…help will come quickly and surely”).
The Mill in Otok, near Vinkovci, also testifies on traditional wealth of the Vukovar-Srijem County. It is horse-driven mill from the 19th century, monument of the highest cultural value and the only preserved object of that kind in Croatia and South-eastern Europe. Did you know that in past wealthy girls wore 99 ducats with their festive traditional costumes, but not 100 in order not to pay the tax? The only male handiwork in Croatia is preserved in Bošnjaci. It the production of oborak, uborak, polosmak, drvenka… , wooden containers for cereals in grains.
On the Road of the Golden Line in Županja and its surroundings meet the hosts – Šokci and Šokice, experience autochthonous customs with home-made food. Enjoy irresistible charm of rural husbandries, hospitality of their owners and abundance of gastro offer. Be a harvester for a day and participate in harvest and threshing, manually or with machines from the 19th century. Learn new skills in workshops for handicraft in Adica in Vukovar. Ride Slavoniam horse Sokol or take a ride in a wagon or fiacre. Find your peace in sanctuaries and pilgrimage sites.
Year 1899 in Ilok was founded Royal School of Viticulture, whose tradition College Ilok grown up to today.