【明報專訊】Have you heard of Croatia (克羅地亞) ? For tourists, it might not be as popular as other European countries. But this Balkan state (巴爾幹國家) has a unique culture, making it definitely worthwhile to visit.
In a town called Rijeka, there is a tradition called Zvon?ari, which means "bell ringer". In order to drive away evil spirits of winter, people parade through the town in over-sized sheep heads, white trousers and striped shirts, and a big bell is tied around their waist. The once-a-year parade might be an interesting way to beat the winter blues and warm themselves up.
Croatia's flag is quite eye-catching among its European counterparts. With the shield(盾章) bearing numerous white and red squares, it looks very like a chessboard. The colours of the red, white and blue are called the pan-Slavic(泛斯拉夫) colours, which are also used in the flags of Czech, Russia and Serbia, etc., signalling the common Slavic origins of these countries. (photo.2)
◆World Cup titbit
For the Croatian national team that he captains, Luka Modric (middle) is an indispensable midfielder(中場球員). Formerly a Hotspur (熱刺) player, he now plays for Real Madrid(皇家馬德里). He has helped the team win numerous championships. He has been named six times the Croatia Footballer of the Year. He is now facing a charge of perjury (偽證罪) in a corruption trial which involves a Croatian football club. (photo.3)
(Sources: Ming Pao, The World Factbook)
■English highway﹕Beat the winter blues
Blues also means sadness. To beat the winter blues is to wipe out the sadness or melancholy in winter.
e.g. Tom tried to beat the winter blues by going to parties.
Dr Panda, MoMo and Pat are wearing different clothes for the parade. Which of their clothings suit the description?
"A wolf in sheep's clothing" is a well-known idiom in both Chinese and English. It refers to someone who:
A. is friendly
B. pretends to be friendly
C. shows his or her evil side
D. pretends to be evil
parade (n) 巡遊
origin (n) 起源
melancholy (n) 沉鬱
indispensable (adj) 不可或缺
[Smarties' Power English 第210期]