Trznica dance – il ballo the dell' abodanza

It has been recorded that the Festivity of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik also featured the guild dance of the trznice, tržnice, pećarice – "baker-women", performed in front of the Duke's Palace. After the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic, this dance was performed at Candlemas, on 2nd February. Although the first reference to the dance dates back to the 18th century, it was most certainly part of the tradition of the festivity of the patron saint in the 16th and 17th century. It was performed by 12 women dressed in folk costume. In their hands, they held staffs on which two bottles or gostarice—one with wine, another with oil—were hung, along with two small loaves of bread or kolač and a wreath of lentils, while on their heads, they would place small baskets braided around by olive branches and containing small loaves of pogača bread. The olive branches signified peace and the other fruits of the land, especially bread, closely associated with St. Blaise, invoked abundance. Ivan Marija Matijašević and Francesco Maria Appendini describe this dance as a dance of abundance – il ballo dell' abondanza or a rustic dance – the villereccia. The dance was accompanied by folk instruments, that is, the tambourine, the diple or the long flute. Josip Bersa describes their dance as a wheel dance. Considering that there were 12 of them, as was often the case in similar guild dances, they probably danced some form of contra dance, which included passing each other by, gathering, touching staffs, whirling and finally the figure of the circle – wheel dancing. Considering the weight of the staff as a prop, it is possible that it was mostly carried on the shoulder, supported with one hand. As a part of street culture, the trznice made their way into Carnival poems. Thus, Antun Gleđević wrote a poem about the customs of baker-women, while the carnival poem Tržnicam was written sometime later by an unknown author. In 1938, at the initiative of the Dub association and Frano Dabrović and Božo Glavić, the festivity of St. Blaise featured six girls in folk costume, who brought to the altar the fruits of the land, some wax and two pigeons – in remembrance of the trznice of yore.