Stomorina - Omišalj

Stomorina – Omišalj

Stomorina or Vela Gospoja, as it is called in Omišalj, is a religious holiday which on the 15th August celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary to which the parish church of Omišlja is dedicated. The day before the holiday, in the church above the grand altar the “stomorina” is made: on a metal frame grapes, figs and pears are hung in honour of the Mother of God (‘Sta Maria – Stomorina). At the same time, young men and girls in the past would have made their “stomorina” on the town square, from many frames connected to a pole with a crown with four tops on which apples and oranges would have been spiked, and on the frames would have been attached silken scarves (in the past they were collected from the houses of women and girls who had been given them by their fathers and husbands sailors who had bought them in Venice or from other places where they had sailed). The women would make a new banner every year and for three different occasions: they are identical for Christmas and weddings, whilst for “stomorina” they are different. In silence on the eve of the holiday during the night the boys would, with the help of ropes stretched in a cross and tied to the rooftops, raise it on the town square, whilst the girls would help by tying additional scarves and fruit to the rope. The banner represents how the Mother of God, Mary or “Stomorina”, flies in the sky with the angels (the scarves). The young men take care of the Stomorina and sometimes they take it down if a storm is brewing, and then put it back up again. Stomorina is celebrated on two days, on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and on the Day of St. Rocco, when people dance under the Stomorina. The custom is still held to this day, when local young people set up the pre-prepared banner on the town square. Together with the festival on St. Rocco’s Day, this is an interesting tourist attraction.