Mythical origin

"In Antiquity, when the archipelago was home to a Greek colony, the islands were called the Absyrtides. This is because, according to an episode in the legend of the Argonauts, Jason and Medea were said to have taken refuge here on the island of Minerva to escape pursuit by Absyrtus, the sorceress's brother, after they had stolen the golden fleece. Medea's brother found them, however, and fell into a trap she had laid: he was chopped into pieces and thrown into the sea where his body parts formed the many islets surrounding Cres and Losinj. The Kolchians, who had come with them, remained here and founded the city of Absoris."

Customs and traditions

Due to its significant distance from mainland Croatia and the many cultures which have through the years governed it, the people from Susak have many unique traditions. Some traditions are exclusively the island’s own (such as the island’s language and the fanciful clothing). Other traditions, such as cuisine, are a blend of the diverse customs from southern and central Europe.

The people from Susak speak a distinct dialect which is heard only on the island and among the older generation of the island’s emigrants. Additionally, most of the island’s population over the age of 60, to varying degrees, speaks Italian.

Clothing

Susak is perhaps best known for the ornate and elaborate costumes worn by younger women primarily for special occasions such as a wedding or feast day. The costume is made up of a short, brightly, almost neon, colored skirt with multiple ruffled petticoats underneath which gives the wearer the appearance that she is dressed in a ballet tutu. A similar-colored vest is generally worn over a long-sleeved, white chemise. The outfit is accentuated by pink or orange woolen stockings, leather shoes, and a headpiece which matches the colors of the skirt. When wearing this traditional outfit, women generally place one or both hands their hips to emphasize the dress’s uniqueness.

Older and working women generally wear darker, longer skirts without ruffled petticoats. They wear white or dark, long-sleeved shirts, a short veil to cover their hair, and dark, woolen stockings.

Male costumes from Susak are less ornate than their female counterparts. Men traditionally wear dark trousers and a dark vest over a long-sleeved, white, collared shirt. The outfit is completed by a soft, dark cap and may be accentuated with a colorful belt or ribbons on the vest.

During a period of mourning—generally following the death of close family member such as a spouse, parent, sibling, or child—people from Susak wear all black for a period of time.