The European Continent was flourishing on its own in the Middle Ages, having no real threat apart from its own internal struggles. Yet, when the giant of Orient called Ottoman Empire emerged, united in faith and culture, a long period of rivalry and open warfare engulfed the Old World. The lands of Croatia were the actual border between Christian Europe and Islamic Turkey, and a lot of military orders with chess-like emblem came to existence. The Cavalry of Cepin, for example, numbered many brave individuals, skilful in horse riding and spear wielding. Their primary task was to watch the border and deal with intrusions, and their speed and agility were an important feature of their unit.
Centuries have passed, and Turkish threat is no more. As a matter of fact, Croats and Turks have good relations- but that doesn’t mean the traditional military orders are to be disbanded. The Cavalry of Cepin still exists, this time lacking mounted warriors, and gathering people in love with horses and history. Every year in February, they organize the so-called pokladno jahanje (“Carnival Riding”), a march through Cepin settlement featuring fully costumed riders, mounted on equally dressed horses.
As they go through the village, members of The Cavalry of Cepin are offered food and drink by residents. When they finish their march through the checkpoints, riders gather at Central Square, where a big celebration is organized to cherish Croatian history and heritage. The party lasts up to the late night hours, as participants enjoy prime delicacies of Slavonian region- including the spicy sausage known as kulen, which notes increasing export values.
Interested in seeing what the 14th pokladno jahanje looked like in Cepin? Check out our photo gallery below, and consider visiting this unique celebration next year. If you like history, horses, tradition and Slavonian food, there’s no place like Cepin.