The Okanagan Croatian Club is making a transition to entice younger generations to its club. Kate Sarac, who is originally from Croatia, is 29 and becoming club president.
Sarac is hoping to start a kolo group in the Okanagan, to bring a younger generation into Croatian culture. She spoke with the Kelowna Capital News about her involvement with the club and why it’s important to continue the culture for younger generations as part of Carli’s Cultural Connections.
Q: Why is it important for you to take over the club as a young adult?
A: I used to live in Croatia so a lot of my memories are watching young adults going into town squares dressed up with full makeup and hair and they would dance. It was always something that I loved. I thought it was beautiful. It’s always such a neat part of our culture. When I moved back to Canada, my parents started a kolo group in Ontario, that’s what I used to do on May long weekends.
It was a great time to spend with family and friends and keep the culture alive because it is something that isn’t as prevalent now. If we can keep these beautiful interactive pieces of our history more readily available and in the public eye, it’s a cool part of our culture I’d like to show the rest of the world.
Q: Why is dancing such a big part of Croatian culture?
A: That’s what we used to do in our pastime. There were lots of villages and (close-knit) communities that didn’t have access to resources, they were very poor, so they would spend their free time sewing and weaving these intricate outfits and they would go to villages and would each bring their own dance and style. If you go all over Croatia each different region has a style of nosnje, so it was almost a competition to see who could make the most elaborate ones.
It’s a show of competition but it was a lot of fun, it’s something that’s been a tradition in our culture for generations.
Q: How can people get involved with the club?
A: You don’t have to be Croatian to join. Our current president isn’t actually Croatian. We’re doing a lot of hip, fun things. This weekend we’re actually doing a Mother’s Day BBQ at Sarsons Beach Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We’re going to be having lamb that we’ve roasted and potato salad and the kids from the language class will be doing a presentation in Croatian.
You can search for the Okanagan Croatian Club on Facebook, where events are all posted. If you are part of our club, which is $20 to join, you can join our language classes for free which we hold every other week.
We have wonderful songs and dances and food and wine and travel opportunities.
Every two weeks, the Capital News will feature different cultures as part of a video segment that highlights different cultures in the Okanagan. To watch Sarac’s feature online, visit kelownacapnews.com. To get involved, email Carli at firstname.lastname@example.org.