Wooden toys with heart and tradition – product of Croatian Zagorje

Wooden horse that pulls wagon and butterfly waving his colorful wings, in the colors of yellow, red and blue, are distinctive traditional product of the Croatian Zagorje. Each era has its toys, toys that youngsters play with and adults remind of childhood. This part of the national heritage is interesting evidence of a community that is aware of its identity.

Foto: mhz.hr

Up to now we have probably convinced everyone that the Croatian tradition is rich and mixed into every sphere of our present life, but how serious were we when we claimed it proves the fact of children’s toys. Here too the tradition entangled her fingers. Namely, it is perhaps a bit forgotten but part of the national heritage represent and toys for children. Traditional wooden toys stimulate the imagination, help in growing up and making childhood more interesting. They remind us slightly older on this carefree period of our lives when the toys ”talked” with us, went with us everywhere and encourage the development and acquiring of skills and abilities.

Recognizable traditional product of the Croatian Zagorje has a long history, and its development marks in the early 19th century. Starting with simple toys and transferring a way of making them from one generation to another, skill of toy production in tens of different forms is active even today, although in a lesser extent. In the Croatian Zagorje, and especially in some places like Marija Bistrica and many villages located on the road leading to it, unique toys, due to manual work can not be two exactly the same, are characteristically made by hand of willow, linden, beech or maple, soft wood which, after drying is hacked and cut with the help of templates. With ecological colors and floral or geometric decorations women mostly paint and decorate toys. Arrangement of colors is also distinctive. Specifically, for substrate is most commonly used red, yellow or blue, or ornaments of folk costumes. Toys that today we can buy only in rare places, because the number of masters of these colorful handicrafts greatly reduced, were seen as a family business because the production was most often in the hands of a man and woman of the same household.

Foto: mhz.hr

Whether it is a horse, butterfly, birds or wagon, furniture, flute or small tamburitza those traditional toys are characteristic feature of trade fair in Krapina Zagorje County and Zagreb County and the Marian shrine of Marija Bistrica. Toys that will arouse great interest and joy among the youngest, many adults will buy for beautiful memories or as timeless, original and unique souvenir with UNESCO‘s ”signature”. And how UNESCO Commission explained – such traditional production of children’s toys in the Croatian Zagorje makes this community conscious of their identity, which is certainly praise for the role in the social socialization.

Either way, many of us will be happy to remember hours spent in the company of wooden toys that didn’t spoil our vision, toys that encourage development, which grandfather made us, and inherited younger sister. That proof that tradition is not only in stone and stories, that it is not only for the elderly will put a smile on the face of each generation, and as a reminder of past times it will take place in the hearts and showcases around Croatia and world 🙂

Josipa Celinić