Nightmares and Dreams at 12th LegendFest in Pićan

How does mòra look like?  Does mòra know she is a mòra? Has anyone ever met mòra in broad daylight? Has anyone met her while awake?

Who is the target of mòra’s attack? Handsome boys? Not so handsome ones?  Naughty children? Tired women? How does she strike? And who has seen her?

How does mòra travel, where does she sneaks in, when does she apper? Why it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of water next to your bed? How can we protect ourselves?

Answers to these and many other questions about mòras, beings from folk traditions, have been given by philologist and Croatian Studies teacher Evelina Rudan at one of her numerous lectures she held at LegendFest in Pićan.

On the last weekend of July 2017, the small Istrian town of Pićan hosted numerous artists, performers and lecturers. This year, through the various forms of performing arts, they brought to our attention one specific figure of Istrian folk tales – mòra.

After the last year’s festival theme on vampires and Jure Grando, the fear that awakens and strengthens with the first night shadows was again the dominant theme of this LegendFest.

Ivo Vičić made sure that with his special sound recordings, we could hear ghosts! The frightening echoes of mystical beings throughout the space reminded us that not everything is as it seems and that we are not alone.

All about the ‘medižija’, in other words, the ways to protect and overcome the negative effects of mòra, could be found in the films of Vivian Brkarić and Valter Stojšić, as well as from the narratives of the traveling Krsnik.

Dance-drama performances from the members of the Dance Art Laboratory from Opatija creatively demonstrated how the inhabitants of Pićan deal with mòra’s attack, which prayers they use to defeat her and how the illusion can be clear with the smell of incense.

Through the physical and metaphysical metamorphosis with her performance ‘Mòra Morana’, Vanesa Petrac has called upon understanding, to reject prejudice and selfishness, and to embrace love in all its forms.

Our youngest festival visitors could go home to bed happy after all, reassured in knowledge that love can overcome even the biggest nightmares as shown through various children’s performances and storytelling.

Ethnologists and psychologists held lectures on various aspects of dreams, and at Irena Jurjević’s workshop, visitors could learn how to explore their own dreams, how to memorize them and find out their meaning.

The music programme was marked by the ethnic sounds of Nina Kraljić, Dunja Knebl and Kololira band as well as the ‘balkankan’ sounds of the band Drvored. The two-day festival ended with the fireworks performed by the Association Aureus Unicornis and the burning of straw sculpture by the artist Nikola Faller, who also made a straw bed especially for mòra.

We would like to thank all the artists and performers who entertained visitors with their rich programmes, emphasizing Istrian folk traditions. We would also like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to the Municipality of Pićan, all sponsors and anyone else who helped in the realization of another LegendFest and contributed to the festival’s mission – the preservation of the non-material cultural heritage of Croatia.

See you next year!

Photos from the festival can be viewed in the photo gallery.

More information about the festival programmes can be found here.

Video from the festival can be viewed here.

Sounds from the mystic world recorded by Ivo Vičić can be heard here.


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