Every year, the biggest religious event which is form 2009. on World Intangible Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO the traditional "Following the Cross" procession has been held for more than 500 years.
The procession is moving from six Hvar towns and parish churches at the same time: Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirča, Vrbanja and Vrboska and attracts many believers also outside the island of Hvar.
Many fans from the whole island, as well as guests visiting the island, participate in the procession, carrying candles and chainlet crowns.
Processions are being formed, clockwise, visiting all the parish churches participating in the pilgrimage during the night, each cross going to their church so that after 8 hours of walking, with the first rays of the sun, each cross returned to its own parish church. It is very important that processions do not meet , which is considered a major accident.
Preparations are already starting on Wednesday when the 40-day lent finish. The tests are being carried out, and schedules are agreed. It is a great honor to be a man carring the Cross (Križonoša), so they are subscribe for years in advance for the procession, sometimes 10-20 years ago. Considering that the cross is weighing up to 18 kg, Križonoša has two assistants and two accompanying candlesticks.
The procession starts right at 10pm and returns to its starting point at 7 o'clock in the morning. During the night, the walk is about 25 kilometers.
The procession in Jelsa is the most important because the Križonoša, at the end of the long walk, runs over the local square when the procession returns to Jelsa. At the end of the road, he was received by a priest, in front of which he kneel down together with the cross before it has to be returned to its parish church. Each parish and every place on the island of Hvar have their own specialty.
This year, due to the Covid 19 situation, the procession will still take place in slightly different circumstances and under precautionary measures (wearing masks, disinfection, distance of min. 5 m). From each place (Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj, Vrboska), 15 participants will participate, with the permission of the Civil Protection Staff of the Republic of Croatia. The procession will take place in a circle, so that at any one place there will be 15 people at a time, provided that they are not joined by the inhabitants of these places. A hundred-year tradition that means a lot to the people of Hvar.