Bećarac (plural Croatian: Bećarci) is a humorous form of folk song, originally from rural Slavonia, and eventually spreading across Croatia and into southern Hungary and Vojvodina. 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.
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, 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. In 2010, the attempt was again unsuccessful, and English translations were made for better reference. In 2011, it was included in the list.
- Cvitanic, Marilyn. Culture and Customs of Croatia, Greenwood Publishing, 2011.
- Dubinskas, Frank. Performing Slavonian folklore, Stanford University; 1983
- 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.
- "Bećarci zbog ulaska na Unescovu listu prevedeni na engleski". Večernji list (in Croatian).
- "Slavonski bećarac i nijemo kolo iz Zagore na UNESCO-ovoj listi". Večernji list (in Croatian). 2011-11-27. Retrieved 2011-11-28.