With the traditional flight of white doves and the raising of the flags in front of the church of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, the 1048th Fest of Sv. Blaise has begun.
The celebration of Dubrovnik's patron is special and typically Dubrovnik. It begins on Our Lady of Candles or Candlemas on the 2nd of February when white doves, a symbol of freedom and peace, are released in front of the saint's church and by the raising of Blaise's banner in the central place of the Old City – upon Orlando’s Column.
The Festivity of St. Blaise is on UNESCO’s list of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2009.
In addition to the church festivities, a number of other events were organized in Dubrovnik in those days. The restaurants offer typical winter specialties, exhibitions and concerts are dedicated to St. Blaise and a walk through the walls reveals more than a hundred stone-shaped plots.
At dawn on the 3rd of February, the Grand Masters (a distinguished craftsman and seaman) and the platoon of the Dubrovnik Musketeers, a historic Dubrovnik unit, await the banners from the East and the West that will take part in the procession honouring the patron saint.
St. Blaise has defended Dubrovnik from all kinds of enemies. He was and has remained the foremost citizen of Dubrovnik, its defence, honour and pride. St Blaise permeated and united all of life in Dubrovnik throughout the centuries. He is present from the altar to the table, with his omnipresence in all spheres of life, among all social classes, and cultural space. Indeed, while other cities have their patron saint, in Dubrovnik it is the Saint that has his own City.