Bećarac is a humorous form of folk song, originally from rural Slavonia, Croatia and eventually spreading across Serbia and into southern Hungary. The root of the word comes from bećar (Turkish: bekâr), meaning "bachelor", "reveler" or "carouser". Bećarci are always teasing, mocking and/or lascivious, and are usually sung by a male company at village parties.[1]


Bećarac uses a strict form of couplet in decasyllable, always sung to the same music, played by a tamburitza orchestra or just by the choir. The first verse is sung by the choir leader and forms a logical thesis; it is repeated by the choir of gathered men. The second verse is a humorous antithesis, also repeated by the choir (but often broken by laughter). Bećarci are usually performed at the peak of a party as a drinking song after the crowd is sufficiently warmed up by wine and music. A series of bećarci can last indefinitely. The lyrics are often made up at the spot or improvised,[2] and the best ones are spread and reused for later parties.


In 2009, Croatia submitted the bećarac among others for inclusion in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.[3] In 2010, the attempt was again unsuccessful, and English translations were made for better reference.[4] In 2011, it was included in the list.[5]


  1. Cvitanic, Marilyn. Culture and Customs of Croatia, Greenwood Publishing, 2011.
  2. Dubinskas, Frank. Performing Slavonian folklore, Stanford University; 1983
  3. Nina Ožegović (2009-02-03). "Bećarac, licitari i alka u UNESCO-u" [Bećarac, licitars and Sinjska alka in UNESCO]. Nacional (in Croatian) (690). Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  4. "Bećarci zbog ulaska na Unescovu listu prevedeni na engleski". Večernji list (in Croatian).
  5. "Slavonski bećarac i nijemo kolo iz Zagore na UNESCO-ovoj listi". Večernji list (in Croatian). 2011-11-27. Retrieved 2011-11-28.

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