For over a hundred years, people gathered in Žminj to celebrate St. Bartholomew’s Day, which was once celebrated exclusively on the 24th of August. St. Bartholomew’s Church is located at the western entrance to the town and it was built in the 16th century. The main altar features a statue of St. Bartholomew, made in a Žminj’s old woodcarving workshop, and is a good example of rural baroque in Istria. After the mass, families used to gather in honour of the saint and the meals often included specialties made with cabbage. Afterwards they would visit the local fair, have fun and dance in one of Žminj’s taverns. Today’s Bartulja is a modern version of the old folk festivity, which still heavily relies on its century old tradition.
The programme includes bike tour, running race, football and boules tournament, concerts, livestock fair, various performances, local produce fair and a car exhibition. The cultural and artistic programme features Rapcici Kindergarten, Vladimir Gortan Elementary School, Cere Folklore Society, Žminj’s majorettes, Marija and Milan Kranjcic, Pula’s Day Care Centre for Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation and many other performers. Žminj’s streets are filled with exhibitors selling organic olive oils, wines, cured meat products, pastries, lavender, aronia and hemp products, jewellery and many other decorative items.
Traditionally, Saturday morning from 7 to 12 AM is reserved for the livestock fair and domestic animals exhibition, while at 5 PM visitors can watch the equestrian tournament behind the Ultra store.
Bartulja ends on Saturday evening with a free concert hosted by one of the Croatian singers, while the numerous visitors can also enjoy musical performances at The Bar’s open stage.