Man, witness of time
The residues of material and spiritual culture have collected in this small place, and man happily stayed and lived in Župa, built houses here, churches and summer residences, fished and sailed, cultivated vineyards and olive groves. Through the generations, they thoroughly improved the place where they lived, worked, enjoyed themselves, have been sad, prayed and believed. This was their miraculous strength. They built it stone by stone, used their worthy hands to embroider and weave ornate, as well as everyday clothes, and showed their joyfulness, sadness and obstinacy through song and dance.
Man loved the sea here, spoke and sung about it with pride and bitterness, it fed him, and he became a sailor and fisherman. But in Župa he has always remained a warrior, and belongs to the earth, the grapes and the olives.
The people from Župa have kept their rich national heritage, national traditions, folklore and pretty folk costumes. The beauty of the female folk costume is obvious in its simplicity and elegance. It consists of white linen shirts, and shirts (laneta) with rose motifs, over which a jacket is worn, and which is attached to the chest and covered by a handkerchief of brightly coloured silk or shot silk taffeta. This is followed by a dress of brightly coloured material, which is filled out with either one, or a number, of underskirts or silk petticoats. Today, the brightly coloured skirt has been replaced by one that is of only a single colour: blue, brown or olive, in fact the colours of this region. On their legs they wore white cotton knitted socks and slippers made of red leather.
Their hair was combed back and flattened on their faces, divided into two plaits, wrapped around their heads and fastened with a band. Whilst the girls’ heads were uncovered, the women covered their head with a handkerchief and for traditional reasons fastened it with a golden pin, called the ‘Župa hairpin’ (Župa Mačići). In times of mourning they wore mourning clothes in dark or black colours, depending on how close they were to the deceased. They kept old coffers, which not only contained their clothes, but also their secrets and stories, and memories of the ancient times of their great grandparents.
Their jewellery is not humble, but magnificent and rich with gold and pearls, and the women from Župa proudly wore, guarded and preserved it, and passed it down from generation to generation. They wore golden hearts on their handkerchiefs. The Kolarin, the luxurious Župa necklace, had six or twelve filigrees made out of gold plated grains and a golden cross for a pendent. Between the grains on some Kolarins there were bunches of red coral.
Mourning jewellery also existed, which was made of gold and black glass melt. The earrings were oval in shape with a semi-precious jewel mounted in a pearl in their centre. The broach was also a similar shape. The gold earrings were made with enamel tiles and pearls in three rows that were only worn on holidays and for formal occasions.
The male costume was embroidered with gold, which is why it was called zlatna roba (Golden clothes), and the men who wore these clothes were called ‘zlatari’ (goldsmiths) and were obliged to attend all the festive holidays, especially the celebration for St. Blaise (sv. Vlaho), the Dubrovnik ‘patron saint’ (parca) from long ago 972. The people of Župa have always had a particular respect for St. Blaise (sv. Vlaho), and in celebratory processions held in his honour have always worn elegant dress, belts and weapons according to the old traditions, and proudly held the flag of the brother hood that they belong to.
Formal male dress consisted of wide trousers made from blue cloth, which were gathered at the waist and just covered the knees. On a white cotton shirt they wore a waistcoat, which was attached to the chest, and over this they wore a short jacket with sleeves. Finally, on top of this they wore one more waistcoat (jaćerma) made of either fine red cotton they had purchased or velvet, which was decorated with sequins, connected with gold plated silver or filigree buttons. On a wide silk belt they wore around their waist, they inserted weapons: a knife, an old fashioned pistol, a curved dagger, and a decorative small knife on a silver chain. On their legs they wore long white linen socks over which they wore red linen gaiters richly decorated with silver thread, and cords with up to twelve laminated buttons. They wore a red cap on their heads with a blue silk tassel, and red leather slippers on their feet.
Their working clothes were much more simple and humble, where they wore a jacket from home made cotton and a cord for decoration, without decorative linen gaiters.
They also carried the folk instrument of Župa, the lyre. The Župa cartwheel dance (Poskočnica) was danced at every occasion. Today the cultural-artistic society “Marko Marojica” looks after the folk dance, and they happily sing the songs Župčice Lijepa (Pretty girl from Župa) and Mlinarske su uske staze rusmarinom sađene (the narrow Mlini paths are planted with rosemary).
In those days, the ancient opulent dress of Župa costume came out of old coffers to see the light of day, some daily, some rarely. They listened to the lyre, sang the old songs, and danced the cartwheel dance (Poskočnica). (Luko Paljetak)
Some old traditions have not been forgotten, in order to not lose memory of those idyllic times when in the summer evenings people used to sit in the gardens and terraces, and rest “under the mulberry tree”.
They spoke, they talked, answered, and reminisced...
“With fondness we remember those times when in the hours of the early morning, when the white mist was lifting above Župa and Dubrovnik, the women would wear their fine traditional dress, which had the scent of “Mjedelovim” flowers and the first violets, and we remember how the winter sun used to light up the young milk maids who were carrying “little baskets” on their heads and the donkeys who were transporting the bright colours of the first fruit and vegetables” When thinking about Župa, I start to sing that old song “I am passing through Mlini, my heart is dying, pretty girl from Župa, I sense you”. And when I do, it is as if I see it her right in front of me, the elfish girl from Župa, because “she is wearing a little basket on her head”, but “she is shy of me, and I am sad….” (Luko Paljetak)
They still go to the green Dubrovnik market place today, but nowadays by car. We remember their pretty faces and audible voices that over flowed through the peace of the city.
Wherever we travel in this region, which is moulded by beauty, we will get to know all about the life of “people who you can get close to because they get close to you”.