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Rome Reports

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Croatian traditional dancers perform and sing a rebellious song in Saint Peter's Square

The Izvor Donja Motičina and Biseri Slavenije dancing groups caught the attention of hundreds of pilgrims in the heart of the Vatican after the general audience.  The East Croatian dancers received an invitation by the Croatian Embassy to perform their customary song and dance for the Pope.   DANIEL MARTIN Visit organizer "We had the opportunity to dance and sing near the Pope. We had the opportunity to speak with the Pope. They gave a present for the Pope.â? The group gifted the Pope a traditional part of their Croatian dress, which is customarily passed down from generation to generation.  DANIEL MARTIN Visit organizer "The Pope was very proud and he said to these people to pray for him and to the grandfathers to pray for him. It's very nice.â? After speaking with Pope Francis, they walked throughout St. Peter's square, performing in various spots. Croatian and non-Croatian pilgrims alike followed them, gathering around to take videos on their phones.   They stopped to perform right below the Croatian flag at the Embassy, as the employees watched from inside their window. Meanwhile, the group held a Croatian flag of their own in front of the singing dancers. Their typical outfits are ones the people in Croatian villages wear for festivals and holidays, with flowery scarves and hats for women and more simple patterns for men. They say their dance continued the celebration of the Easter season.  According to Martin, the song describes a more rebellious side of the Croatian people, as it describes drinking with friends, partying and enjoying life.  DANIEL MARTIN Visit organizer "It's a little bit rebellious. You know, some men who enjoy life, drinking a lot of drinks like an Italian grappa, it's name is rakija, and they are very positive.â? The men played various string instruments, while the women and teenage boys danced and sang in a circle. The group performed the Croatian kolo, or circle dance, and even invited some bystanding Vatican pilgrims to join in the dance, who willingly obliged.  After performing, the group exchanged gifts with the Croatian Embassy in Rome and would visit Pope Francis to take photos before heading home. MB AA JM PR UP: IPC