Folk festival and Istrian cattle fair
Today a folk festivity, once a fair on St. Jacob's Day, Jakovlja truly has a long tradition. With the aim of preserving Istrian folk heritage, the local fair ground in Kanfanar becomes the venue for the traditional fair of Istrian oxen that takes place on Jakovlja. The Istrian ox descends from the extinct primeval ox that was once prevalent in Istria. This ox of pure breed is believed to be the largest mammal in Europe and one of the most beautiful in the whole world. It is well known as a meek animal that has always been the most important farm animal in Istria. Boškarini graze and browse on almost everything on this soil, so thanks to them forests and pastureland once looked like parks.
The parade of Istrian oxen is the most entertaining part of St. Jacob’s Day in Kanfanar. The long tradition of celebrating St. Jacob’s Day begins with a rare parade of oxen, accompanied by a brass band and majorettes. Some of the oxen draw old farm waggons, carrying folk singers and dancers, wine barrels and ploughs. The nostalgic scene of past times and customs passes through Kanfanar to the site where the cattle are weighed, with the heaviest animal winning first prize. An ox-ploughing competition takes places on a nearby field for the best score in obedience. The merry parade then heads back to the fairgrounds, where a jury examines each head of cattle in the beauty category. Finally, winners in all three categories are announced. Adding to the fun of the parade, folk music and dance are a variety of daylong activities, such as bicycling, a bocce ball tournament, a clay pigeon shooting contest and a selection of gastronomic specialties.