100,000 Holy Sunday Pilgrims in Ludbreg in 2019, 2020 a Little Different (VIDEO)

By 24 September 2020
100,000 Holy Sunday Pilgrims in Ludbreg in 2019, 2020 a Little Different (VIDEO)
Grad Ludbreg

September 24, 2020 - Holy Sunday in Ludbreg took place early this month, a pilgrimage which usually attracts 100,000 visitors over the first weekend of September. 2020 was a little different. 

One of the challenges in Croatia is this most challenging of years has been how to strike a balance between social distancing and the upholding of religious tradtions which date back centuries. I was fortunate to be one of the few witnesses of the 500-year-old Za Krizen (Behing the Cross) procession that took place on the island of Hvar on Maundy Thursday, back in April. Permission for the procession to go ahead, even with each of the 6 processions reduced to 15 people, was a hotly debated national discussion. With lockdown all over the country, this was possibly the only event to take place that month in the whole country. 

Religious traditions are a crucial part of the Croatian soul, and there are several annual events which routiinely attract tens of thousands of pilgrims, if not more. All have been much reduced this year due to the virus, and I was curious to see how things looked in practice. 

One of the biggest is Holy Sunday in Ludbreg, which takes place on the first weekend of September each year. Pilgrims gather to commemorate which is actually Croatia's only certified miracle, the Eucharistic Miracles of Ludbreg, back in 1411, which was authenticated by Papal Bull in 1513 by Pope Leo X. You can learn more about it here.

While the Varazdin Diocese decided that the event would go ahead, local Ludbreg authoroties decided to downplay the ancillary events, and the usual concerts and exhibitions were put on hold for a brighter 2021.

While not as busy as previous years, several thousand did show up to attend Holy Mass in the park in front of the Sanctuary of the Special Blood of Christ, before enjoying the rest of the festivities around Ludbreg. 

Ludbreg has yet to record a single case of coronavirus, and the miracle town remains COVID-19-free after its special weekend - a miracle in itself in these crazy times? 

Check out Holy Sunday in Ludbreg 2020 v 2019 in the latest One Minute Ludbreg video below. 

To learn more about Ludbreg beyond its stereotype as the centre of the world, read Marc Rowlands' Ludbreg, the Croatian Road Less Travelled

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