Picokijada - Micgrafika

Autor Danijel Pedi
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Every legend is based on true events ...

When we talk about the Legend of the Picoks, the story is based on the defense of Podravina from the invasion of the Ottoman Empire.

    In the 15th century, Djurdjevac developed into a trading post, ie an urban settlement.
When Suleiman I the Magnificent returned to Constantinople after the defeat at Kisega in 1532, his troops set fire to and plundered the areas in which they were retreating. That is how the surroundings of Djurdjevac were looted. This prompted city owner Gaspar Ernusta to erect a defensive wall with towers and a bridge that spanned the swampy ground surrounding the castle. The bridge led to the settlement and so the inhabitants could retreat to the fort in case of danger. From the ramparts it was possible to defend against the attack of the invaders and a permanent guard was established to monitor the surrounding areas and provide protection to the population in the event of an attack. Thus, the fortress of Stari Grad Djurdjevac, with its defensive walls, served as an important stronghold of the Military Frontier and later the seat of the captaincy called "Djuroki". The military frontier was abolished in 1871.
    After the fall of Virovitica in 1552, Ulama-beg set out to conquer the fort of Prodavic, today's settlement of Virje, but failed to capture it.
    Wanting to achieve victory, on August 8, 1552, Ulama-beg launched a major attack on Djurdjevac. During the siege of Djurdjevac, many Turkish soldiers and several aga were killed. Because of these losses, he was forced to withdraw, even though he had a large military force with him.
    This military force was redirected to Gradiska via Cazma because Petar Erdody and Prince Juraj Frankopan Slunjski came to him from the Sava.
    Due to the sudden withdrawal of the Turkish army, a legend arose that the fortress of Stari Grad defended itself from the Turks, so that, in despair, the starving defenders of Djurdjevac, at the urging of an old woman, fired the last rooster from a cannon at the Turks. During the Turkish siege, the attackers tried to exhaust the defenders, but because of the fired rooster, the Turks thought that the defenders had food in abundance, which was the reason for the withdrawal of the Turkish army.
    In Podravina, the name for the rooster was picek or picok, which is why the citizens of Djurdjevac also called themselves Picok according to the legend about the last rooster shot at the invading Turkish army Ulama-beg. Legend has it that before retreating, Ulama-beg cursed the defenders with the words:

"And you there, feathered heroes, who fight with the picoks of battle, bore the name of the Picoks forever. The children called you picoki, and your grandchildren will remain Picoks!"

    The oldest record of this Legend dates from 1898 in the manuscript of Tomo Jalzabetic, leader of the Croatian People's Party in Podravina, which he wrote about the people's life of Antun Radic.
    After that, the director of the Virje Civic High School, Adam Grusling, sang the Legend in 1910. There is also a record of teacher Ante Bursic from 1914.
    In 1933, the folk writer Mara Matocec emphasizes the role of a woman who came up with the idea of ​​firing a rooster from a cannon, which saved the defenders of the city from siege and the withdrawal of the Turkish army.
There is a record from 1951 about the Legend of Zvonko Lovrencevic and teacher Andrija Ivancan.

    During the 6th meeting of young people in northwestern Croatia, on June 16, 1968, a stage show was performed in the open air in front of the Old Town for the first time. The stage show was "Attack on the Old Town" directed by Pavle Mihajlovic, and it was conceived and initiated by Djurdjevac teacher Ante Perokovic according to the script of the director of the National University of Djurdjevac Martin Mihaldinec, as well as professor Vlasta Tompak.
    The next stage presentation of the Legend was performed in 1975 on the basis of previous experiences and it was realized that, according to the interest of the audience, Djurdjevac could continue with this tradition by expanding to other cultural and entertainment events. Already in March 1977, this idea was elaborated by Jura Saban and Drago Bahun, who wrote a screenplay entitled "Djurdjevac: Legenda i ljeto '77". The execution of that scenario and idea was realized on the 24th and 26th. June 1977.

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    In addition to the stage presentation of the Legend of the Picoks, an effort was made to acquaint the audience with the customs, culture and traditions of Djurdjevac and its surroundings. In those 3 days, a rich gastronomic offer of food and cakes, sports and cultural events such as art exhibitions and sports matches, performances by folklore associations with the presentation of folk costumes and handicrafts, a procession of carriages featuring agricultural, craft and other customs related along with Podravina and the way of life and work of the inhabitants of Djurdjevac and its surroundings.

    Since 1977, this cultural and entertainment event called "Picokijada" is held every last weekend in June and is complemented by new cultural and sports activities, developing with the help of many volunteers and associations operating in the area.

    The event was positively received by more and more visitors every year, which is why Djurdjevac has become known and recognized as an international tourist and cultural destination. The city of Djurdjevac has received the prestigious title of European destination of tourist excellence in the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.

    In 2007, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia granted the "Legends of the Picoks" the permanent status of an intangible cultural asset of the Republic of Croatia.

    In 2008, the Legend of the Picoks became the national winner in the same category and received the prestigious title of EDEN (European Destinations of Excellence) for the preservation and nurturing of intangible cultural heritage.

    In 2013, Picokijada received the title "Simply the best" in the category of the best thematic events from the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies and the tourist magazine "Way to Croatia".

    To all who have visited "Picokijada" at least once and watched the stage show "Legend of Picoki" it is clear why Đurđevac has become recognizable as such in Croatia and in the world and that Legenda will continue to live and the event will continue to develop through future generations, offering visitors content that is always interesting, fun and instructive.

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Autor Danijel Pedi
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