Monday, January 27, 2014

Enjoying the lindo, a traditional Croatian folk dance

The cheerful looking men and women on this undated vintage postcard1 are doing a traditional folk dance called the lindo.

The text on the back, in Croatian and English, states:
Narodni ples iz okolice Leskovca (Crna Trava)
Folk dance from the surroundings of Leskovac
(Crna Trava)
First of all, we're dealing with three different location names, which are now in three different countries.
  • Dubrovnik — This Croatian city is a walled seaport on the Adriatic Sea that dates to the 7th century. Its current population is about 42,000 and you might recognize some of its locations from their use in HBO's Game of Thrones.
  • Leskovca — This is a tiny settlement of fewer than 100 people in the hills of eastern Slovenia.
  • Crna Trava — This is a village and municipality in Serbia. The name Crna Trava translates to Black Grass, and there's a story behind that.2 The village and municipality have a combined population of about 2,000.

So, we have Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia in the mix here. But enough with the geography. What's the lindo?

According to "Five Croatian Dances to See and Enjoy" on
"Seen by many tourists during their summer visit to Dubrovnik, lindo can also be found throughout the Konavle region and the Peljesac Peninsula as well as surrounding areas. It features a dance master who, together with its trusty lijerica (a three-string instrument played with a bow) dictates the rhythm to the dancers by stamping his foot. The dance master issues commands, usually in rhyme, and usually of a humorous nature."

Just this past October, in a sign of the times, some lindo dancers in Dubrovnik qualified for the Guinness Book of World Records by dancing together in a group of 274.

A blogger for The Essence of Dubrovnik indicates that lindo is pronounced lin-jo and wrote about seeing an amazing dance troupe performance in December 2010: "There was one particular dance where the men performed some very intricate footwork, the only music coming from castanets attached to their black leather boots."

Finally, here's a link to one of the YouTube videos you can find showing lindo performances.

Related posts

1. The postcard was printed in Italy and is a Rotalcolor Rotalfoto. It was produced by the "biro za turističku propagandu" of Zagreb. That translates to the fairly unsubtle "bureau of tourist propaganda."
2. According to Wikipedia: "The origin of the name dates back to 1389, when Battle of Kosovo took place. A Serbian army unit, composed of Serbian archers and cavaliers, decided to take a rest on a grass field while travelling to the battlefield. Since the flowers and other herbs covering the field were highly poisonous, the soldiers became intoxicated, thereby they did not wake up on time for the battle. Realizing that fact, they cursed the grass that poisoned them, branding it 'black' grass."

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