Long known has been the great hospitality of local people towards all guests who come with honest intentions. Križevci is one of the oldest towns in the northern part of Croatia and its citizens are always in the forefront with their hospitality which is always gladly talked about. Our people are easily finding reasons for having fun, breaking the monotony of everyday life, and are always in the company of happy friends and in a way that will remain in everyone’s memory.
This is exactly what the Križevci Statutes are based on – a set of unique rules and regulations of behavior in merry societies with various wine festivities. Because, in order to respect everything at public festivities, not to insult anyone and not to be drunk, there were the Križevci statutes, the only written rules of good manners at the table, which have been mentioned since the 18th century, and without which the fun and merriment was hard to imagine.
In addition, the Statutes have patriotic, sociological and literary value, which stems from the fact that, according to the Statutes, three toasts must be held in every society: “a toast to the homeland, friends and the fairer sex“, in the old way of speaking.
There are two basic rules that the “Statutes” follow. First, “that the living truth is that young wine dilutes and cheers a man, makes him a sociable and a cheerful person, and reduces and beautifies many of his worries“. The second rule says “that wine and every strong drink if consumed by misunderstanding and excess not only poisons and destroys our life, but makes man inhuman and leads to many mental and physical evils.” Therefore, it goes on saying, “let us be friends of the merry fraternal sociability, let’s strengthen the old Croatian hospitality, let’s not alienate ourselves from honest and sober domestic camaraderie, but let’s run away like a plague from any excess that kills serious enthusiasm and enthusiasm, and causes a lot of evil.”
The Križevci statutes therefore primarily advocate joy and happiness in a good society where friendships, hospitality and good interpersonal relations are nurtured, but they explicitly warn that drinking wine and spirits is done with reason, because everything that is done excessively is not good for an individual, nor for society.
The name bilikum comes from the German word willkommen. Bilikum was any vessel from which a toast was drunk in honor of coming to someone’s house. The most famous are bilikums in three parts (the word trilikum, which people associate with a three-part vessel, is an incorrect name and means nothing), but bilikum could have been the most common purchase. Drinking bilikum was a very important act and as such was immediately entered into the house protocol. It was a book in which everything was recorded, from information about who drank bilikum and thus became a family friend, to other important information such as the birth, marriage or death of a family member, but also how he gave birth on the farm, what it was like harvest, how much must was obtained and the like. The house protocol was the most important book in every house and was kept in a special place, usually under lock and key.
Spravišče is traditional folk festival and cultural-historical event that has been held every June since 1968. It is based on the legend that speaks of the reconciliation of Križevci citizens and Kalnik plums nobles and on the Križevci statutes, the popular wine ceremony and the first written rules of conduct in cheerful company and at a full table.
Legend dating back to the 13th century has it that the Croatian-Hungarian king Bela IV took refuge in the old town of Kalnik to hide from invading Mongol armies. Due to the high walls of Kalnik castle and the lack of adequate weapons, the Mongols could not reach the king. Kalnik peasants who were hiding him, thought of starving them to surrender. However, as plums grew along Kalnik, the peasants began to feed the king with plums. Mongol armies eventually lost patience and withdrew, making Kalnik the only city that the fierce invaders did not conquer. As a token of gratitude, the king conferred noble titles on the peasants, and yet, having saved the king, were in a more favorable position.
The people of Križevci were extremely jealous of the noble titles for Kalnik peasants, and have mockingly called the Kalnik peasants ‘noble Kalnik plum growers’. The legend goes on to say that this is when the quarrel between Upper and Lower city began, which lasted until a young man from Kalnik fell in love with a girl from the town. As love prevailed, before the wedding they had to reconcile and ‘put something together’. The people of Kalnik brought wine and plum brandy to the festival of reconciliation, since they were ‘plum growers’, and the citizens prepared an ox, which is traditionally roasted on Spravišče today, so they all rejoiced, ate and drank for three days.
The symbolism of Spravišče is the reconciliation between the Kalnik plum noblemen and the Križevci citizens. In the traditional spelling of reconciliation of Križevci citizens and Kalnik plum nobles, all those gathered are reminded of the creation of the Križevci statutes. Spravišče is large fair where the cultural and historical heritage of the Križevci region is presented. The event is accompanied by various cultural events: performances by folklore groups, presentation of traditional crafts, crafts, local handicrafts, local Prigorje dishes and wines, exhibitions, literary evenings, concerts of classical, folk and popular music, sports competitions and other surprises. Križevci, a town that, during Spravišče, with its squares, becomes a large stage with appropriate programs for all ages.
The only female historical unit in the world that has its roots in July 1848, when Ban Josip Jelačić was guarded by girls from Križevci, a native of Križevci who stood at the entrance to the bishop’s court. They stood conscious of their duty at the door, and in their gentle hands gleamed a deadly weapon. The Križevci Girl’s Guard successfully represents Križevci by participating in numerous events across the country and abroad.