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Culture and tradition > Statutes of Križevci

bilikum is derived from a German word, willkommen (welcome). "Bilikum" is a distorted form of the original German word, and it is usually related to two pitchers made of earthenware and joined together, referring to the first part of the word ("bi" meaning "two"). In the same way, three pitchers joined together, and interlinked through the handle, are called "Trilikum" ("tri" = "three"), which is, of course, wrong, since the word "trilikum" has no specific meaning. So, every pitcher used for making a toast was referred to as "Bilikum". The most popular form of "bilikum" was that which had three pitchers joined together with words " Čeh, Leh, and Meh" carved on them, while any wine jug was also often referred to as "Bilikum". The fact that every wine-drinking occasion had to be registered in the hižni protokol (household customs, protocol) proves that this feast was central to life in Križevci.According to the first rule of "The Statutes of Križevci", best-known Croatian rules on companionable wine-drinking, "there could be no occasion of good-fellowship, without the feast of wine ". So, if there weren’t for those occasions of good-fellowship and pleasant conversations, "The Križevci Statutes" couldn’t be applied. Štatuti were mostly applied in pleasant companionship with friends. The feast, fellowship, and socialising, and being bound together used to be central to people’s lives in Križevci. They would record each detail of such get-togethers, including the activities and names of the people who were present, in the hižni protocol (household customs, protocol), that is the book with records of all persons who were drinking from "bilikum", thus becoming a member of the hiža (household), as well as the records of birth, wedding, or death of a household member, vintages, and the amount of the new wine, that is must, produced. The records of the Hižni (household) customs were fondly cherished, and kept in a special place in a house, usually locked up in a drawer. Those who didn’t drink from "bilikum", had no place at the household table.The traditional ritual of the blessing of the new wine (must), reads: Must! May you turn into wine on this day. I bless you in the name of glorious St Martin, those who produced you, and the spirit above your soil, which makes the new wine boil. A pinch of salt on this day, will always keep the headache away. May peace be with you, and may you always be strong and spirituous.

Only the basic characteristics of the Statutes were mentioned here, while there are forty to sixty articles in the Statutes giving a detailed account of the obligation of the fellowship members. "The Statutes" stand as a testimony to the common occasions of good-fellowship, and pleasant conversations among friends over a glass of wine, because of which Križevci became widely known as a town filled with the spirit of hospitality, celebrating wine, food, beautiful women, and the homeland by numerous toasts.

Križevci Statutes, from oral tradition to the written word

Bilikum is a traditional jug used for drinking wine, and mentioned in the Križevci Statutes

Blessing of the new wine on St Martin's Day, patron saint of wine makers

Vintage in Križevci

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