It is no coincidence I launched Remembering Yugoslavia on November 29 (2017).
Table of Contents
- Dan Republike in Socialist Yugoslavia
- Dan Republike After Yugoslavia
- Zabranjeno pušenje: Dan Republike
[This is a running post, updated as needed when new sources come to light.]
On this day in 1943 the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (Antifašističko vijeće narodnog oslobođenja Jugoslavije, AVNOJ) at its second session in Jajce declared that Yugoslavia would be “built on a democratic, federal principle” as “a community of equal nations/peoples [narod] who freely expressed their wish to live in Yugoslavia,” called Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, comprising 6 equal republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia). Leader of the Partisan resistance, Tito was named the head of the provisional government and also elevated to the rank of Marshal on that day.
Two years later, on 29 November 1945, at AVNOJ’s next biennial session, King Petar II transferred power to Tito as the new country’s prime minister. The country thus ceased to be a monarchy and became a republic, now renamed to Federal National (People’s) Republic of Yugoslavia. The second Yugoslavia was thus born.
Throughout its subsequent history, Yugoslavia marked the anniversary as the Republic Day (Dan Republike), commemorating the 1943 event. Republic Day honored “the achievements of the partisans’ fight and glorified the basic principle of Yugoslavia’s economic and political system.” [Ninković Slavnić]
The date featured on the country’s coat of arms:
Republic Day was a major holiday in Yugoslavia:
- Citizens enjoyed two days off work, taking trips for extended weekends or to visit family and organizing parties. People made plans ahead and the question “What are you doing for 29 November?” was more important than “What are you doing for New Year’s?” [Tanjug/Mondo] Visits to relatives included preparation of foods for the winter and a feast.
- First-graders took the oath as Pioneers, “inheritors of the historic decisions made on that date in 1943 and the guarantors of their continued meaning as foundational principles of the state” in order to promote “continuity between generations” and to connect “connected children to the memory of the Partisan struggle and the creation of the state itself.” [Balkanist]. They received a blue cap (“titovka”), a red scarf, and a red Pioneer booklet. Other events were held at schools, including assemblies, academies, readings and recitals (about Tito), and performances.
- Ceremonial academies, medal award ceremonies (to individuals and collectives for their achievements), meetings of youth, honorary cannon (?) salvos, and other commemorative events were held across the country, particularly in republican capitals.
- Newspapers ran not just articles but big features on medal recipients, especially the AVNOJ award given for the contribution to the development of society, and advertisements. Visuals representations leaned toward factories, products, and chosen people, rather than geographical locations, architecture, or maps [Ninković Slavnić]
- It was a very popular date for weddings, allowing for a double celebration (and drinking). The date had to be booked months in advance.
- It was also a popular date for pig and lamb slaughter. A follow-up question about plans included “What are you going to eat: pig, lamb, or something else?”
- TV channels showed marathons of old films about Partisans and cartoons for kids.
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Dan Republike After Yugoslavia
After socialist Yugoslavia dissolved in 1991/1992, Republic Day remained an official holiday only in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, where from 1997 to 2001 the day commemorated the 1945 event and where the holiday was abolished on November 14, 2002.
Judging from internet search results [11/29/2017], the day is, perhaps unsurprisingly, most commemorated in Serbia and Montenegro. This was particularly the case in 2015, the 70th anniversary of Yugoslavia’s creation.
Remembering Dan Republike in Serbia
Serbian media marks 29 November as Republic Day on an annual basis. The thrust of the coverage is along the lines of, ‘this is what and how we celebrated this day,’ listing what Yugoslavia looked like on that day and highlighting various artefacts associated with the day and the country, e.g. songs, pioneer paraphernalia, and especially pig slaughter.
Pre-2012 coverage, if any, of 29 November will require a trip to a library or individual publication archives.
KAKO SMO NEKADA SLAVILI 29. NOVEMBAR Puste ulice, pioniri, druženje i SVINJOKOLJ (How we used to celebrate 29 November: Empty streets, pioneers, fellowship, and pig slaughter), Blic, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
“The holiday is almost forgotten today, and to those who were born after the 1980s it means almost nothing. However, there are still enthusiasts and Yugonostalgics who mark it, because for them it’s an association with a better more comfortable life in a large country.”
[This brought to mind the phantom limb.]
“Ivanjičani koji nikada nisu prestali da slave Dan Republike – 29.novembar,” Infoliga, 11/29/2018
Family Nešovanović from Ivanjica has never ceased to celebrate Dan republike. The family celebrates the former holiday in their dining room, with food, paraphernalia from and symbols of Yugoslavia, and guests wearing Pioneer red scarves.
Biljana Nešovanović: “In Yugoslavia, values were respected. We lived in a different way, had a more normal life. People respected each other. I never dreamed a time would come when no one knows anything. I’m glad that at least in my home I can honor the past in which I lived the best life and impart it on my children and friends. We’ll never live like we did under Tito again. On this day, we would all have had a day off, relaxed, hung out, barbecued lamb… Sadly, today people no longer have those relationships when everyone shared goodness and honesty.”
“OD VARDARA PA DO TRIGLAVA” Kako je nastala kultna pesma koju su Jugosloveni OBOŽAVALI (How the cult song the Yugoslavs adored was born), Blic
Reprints a 1980 text describing the song’s history and countrywide acceptance and popularity.
“Vlajko nema slavu, već 29. novembar: Umesto kolača drži Titovu sliku, a svaki gost minutom ćutanja odaje počast preminulim drugovima,” (Vlajko doesn’t have slava but 29 november: Instead of a cake, every guest honors dead comrades with a minute of silence),Telegraf, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
Lajkovac resident Vlajko Jevtić, instead of his family’s slava, has celebrated Dan republike on November 29 for almost five decades. The railway worker puts on his house the Yugoslavia flag and a banner with the slogan “Long live November 29.”
When guests arrive, they first hold a minute of silence to honor dead comrades. Then he sings the Yugoslav anthem “Hey Slavs,” and only then the slava feast starts. Comrade Vlajko says, “We celebrate the holiday with songs that are appropriate to the Republic Day.”
He says he’ll celebrate Dan republike as long as he is alive, while his children celebrate their family’s slava. His neighbors often see him in a ceremonial uniform.
His other “holy days” are May 4 and 25, when he goes to Tito’s grave. The YU and CPY flags also flutter on his house on May 1 and July 7, along with the banner “Workers of the world, unite!”
“Kako je izgledao svinjokolj u vreme Jugoslavije iz minuta u minut: Red rakije, red psovanja, pa red sekire (FOTO) (VIDEO),” Telegraf, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
A description of pig slaughter on Dan republike.
Contains video interview with Jurica Paden, a Croatian musician (Grupa 220, Parni valjak, Aerodrom, Azra).
- “I miss Yugoslavia like a milk tooth.”
- “[Yugo]nostalgia is a waste of now.” [referencing Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now] Why think about how good things were in the past when now is good? Why think about past moments in the present one? Appreciates his past experiences and the memories thereof as well as people he met. But, “I don’t have time to spend on the past. It happened, it cannot be changed. But future can be changed. So I focus on that.”
Nebojša Ozimić, “HIPNOZA ZVANA DAN REPUBLIKE,” Jugmedia, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
Do not congratulate each other for Republic Day. Respect the little country you live in and of which you are an integral part. It is what it is, but we don’t have another one in reserve.
It was a great and powerful country composed of the defeated and victorious, and that’s how she passed. Victors abandoned her first, even though she gave them the most.
As the end of November approaches, social media fills up with nostalgia about how things used to be, photos of Yugoslavia’s symbols and personal memories, and statements like “it was our enemies who separated us.”
Just remember, Serbia was the last one to celebrate November 29, in 2002.
I spent enough years in the SFRY to be able to pass judgment, but I will keep quiet. Only say the best about the deceased.
Yugoslavia was no longer needed for outside powers who made her strong and maintained her as a buffer zone between the East and the West. When the Berlin Wall fell, Yugoslavia fell. Her citizens took her apart from within, and no one is innocent of this crime.
Milan Djordjević, “Brka’s Republic Day,” Podunavlje.info, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
“The country no longer exists, but there are flags. And there is remembrance. And there are those who keep both the flags and memory.”
Zoran Branković Brka puts out the Yugoslav flag on the Parnjača building, in the name of tradition and to greet his guests. He was never a party member but was active in youth and labor “actions. “He started marking the day in 2004 after his mother died. He wanted to give back to his friends and relatives and decided to invite all to a Dan republike commemoration; more than 20 show up for the barbecue party after work. Early on, passersby would both greet and curse the display, but nowadays they are all more sympathetic. A lawyer by profession and now a taxi cab driver, he takes the day off and the flag down the next day, after all it used to be a two-day holiday.
“29. novembar, Dan republike Jugoslavije: Zašto se i kako slavio ovaj praznik širom naše bivše države (FOTO) (VIDEO)” (29 November, Republic Day: Why and how this holiday was celebrated across our former country)
Notice “our country” in title. Embedded is an undated (perhaps 1950s) documentary Creating the Federation. Repeats passages of the 2015 Mondo article.
“While for some is 29 November the day when the most prosperous country in the region was formed, some view it as a victory of totalitarianism and authoritarianism.”
An uncredited exile is quoted as recalling, “We were free, we were friends, we loved our fatherland (otadžbina), maybe a little naively. We did not imagine what the future had in store for us. Scattered around the world, sometimes we remember those days, our childhood. Thanks to that former fatherland I had a happy, carefree childhood.” [Loss of Yugoslavia is like loss of childhood is like loss of Paradise. You can never go home. Core stuff of nostalgia.]
“Šta o 29. novembru misle u srcu Beograda: Da li smo tada stvarno bili bolji ljudi ili smo samo voleli da jedemo i ne radimo puno? (VIDEO)” (What people in the heart of Belgrade think about 29 November: Were we truly better people then or did we just like eating and not working much?)
“Only those remember [the holiday] who have lived in three-four countries since birth and never actually moved from the place.” Part of the holiday’s charm was preparing meat at pig slaughters for the winter holidays.
The historian Predrag Marković said, “When there is no longer a generation that celebrated [the holiday, the holiday] will disappear too, because the historical event on which it is based is contradictory, has no transgenerational value, and is not sufficient to give it more importance.
In the embedded video, a young reporter asks Belgrade residents downtown what they associate with 29 November. They point out how life was better then. “That holiday is for me now one big memory about a great era.” “[It’s] a part of our youth and means nothing to today’s generation.”
“Sećanje na Dan Republike” (Commemorating Republic Day), RTS, 11/29/2017
A video interview with the historian of the Museum of Yugoslav History Veselinka Kastratović Ristić. Says visits to the museum spike this day, with most people heading to Tito’s grave.
“DAN REPUBLIKE Beograđani jednu ulicu namerno zovu POGREŠNIM IMENOM u čast bivšeg praznika” (Republic Day: Beograd residents purposefully call one street with a wrong name to honor the former holiday) Blic, 11/29/2017
Though the Belgrade city council renamed a number of streets between 2004 and 2007, residents continue to call Despot Stefan Boulevard its old name, 29 November Street. In several places, street name signs show both names, with the old name in the Latin and the new one in the Cyrillic script; many building entrances also still carry the old name (see photos in article and a 2014 Google Street View shot below).
“Još uvek slave bivši Dan republike,” TV Subotica, 11/29/2017
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Tito statue unveiled this year in Subotica at the annual commemoration ceremony, co-organized (?) by “Centar Tito Subotica” and Pokret IV Mini Jugoslavija.
“Dan republike u Subotici,” Radio Televizija Vojvodine, 11/29/2017
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One Subotica resident says it was good times but it’s the past. “Plusquamperfekt,” he says.
On an empty kiosk is a banner, “Dok je nas, biće i Jugoslavije” (As long as we exist, Yugoslavia will exist too.)
“U duhu bivše Juge!” (In the spirit of the former Yugo[slavia])
Photos from a new (?) tradition of commemorating the holiday: a masquerade ball with costumes and music from the socialist era.
“Kozaračko kolo na Dan Republike, najmlađi igrač ima preko 60 godina (VIDEO)” (Kozarac kolo on Republic Day, the youngest dancer is over 60)
“KAKO JE POD ZVEZDOM ŽIVEO ČOVEK KOJI SADA ŽIVI POD ORLOVIMA: Priznao nam je to na 29. novembar (VIDEO)” (How the man who today lives under the eagle lived under the star: He told us on 20 November)
Video interviewing a senior at a commemorative party. “We all lived nicely in that country. We socialized, we worked, we were active in a student union, in the party… We made friends with volunteers from other countries. I do not think there is any reason not to remember this day.
“Besplatan kupus, pasulj, pihtije i kuvana rakija: Slavimo rođendan bivše Jugoslavije 29. novembar (VIDEO)” (Free food and drinks: We are celebrating the birthday of former Yugoslavia 29 November)
13-minute video, reporting from two locations.
- Cafe SFRY, a Yugonostalgia cafe. Owner and his friends from several former republics got together and started the nostalgic cafe. Reporters ask passersby, including a woman who was a Pioneer, a senior, and a Dutchman about their recollections of the holiday and the former country.
- Kafana Korčagin, a communism nostalgia restaurant. Same event as 2016 pieces above.
“Dan republike nekad i sad,” RTS Stara Pazova, 11/30/2016
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“29 novembar Dan republike anketa građani Zaječara,” Online TV, 11/29/2016
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“Za sve klince koji su propustili Dan Republike” (For all the kids who missed Republic Day), Mondo
On pig slaughter: “On that day, pigs, lambs, and swine were sacrificed to the glory of brotherhood and unity.”
“A ZA DAN REPUBLIKE – SVINJOKOLJ! Evo kako je Jugoslavija SLAVILA 29. NOVEMBAR (VIDEO)” (For Republic Day – Pig slaughter! Here’s how Yugoslavia celebrated 29 November), Telegraf
“Dan Republike: Kako se nekad slavio 29. novembar?” (Republic Day: How was 29 November celebrated in the past?) B92, 11/29/2015
An abridged version of the 2012 Mondo article (originated at Tanjug press agency) above.
“Svinjokolj, a šta bi drugo za 29. novembar?” (Pig slaughter, and what else on 29 November?), Mondo, 11/29/2014 [pdf]
“Svinjokolj za bivši Dan Republike” (Pig slaughter on former Republic Day), Mondo, 11/29/2014
How various communities revived the pig slaughter tradition. Photos in the first article, video in the second.
“Da li bi nam bilo bolje da se SFRJ nije raspala” (Would it have been better had SFRY not fall apart?), Mondo, 11/29/2014 [pdf]
The remembrance of the day “remains as a reminder of a better time.” Equivalent holidays in the successor republics see nothing of the excitement that Republic Day elicited. “Perhaps it’s because the day was celebrated for so long in the country that fell apart and because many families, dreams, and lives fell apart as well. And after all that, from a historical distance, many ask where would we have been had we remained in the joint country? Would we have the living standards of Sweden? What sports trophies would we have won? What good movies would have been made and who would have been the biggest music star?”
A poll then asks the titular question: 69% voted yes, 23% voted no, and 8% did not know.
“KAKO SU SE SRBI ODREKLI TITA I JUGOSLAVIJE: 29. NOVEMBAR – Praznik kojeg više nema, kao ni republike! (FOTO) (VIDEO)” (How Serbs renounced Tito and Yugoslavia: 29 November – Holiday that no longer exists, just like the republic), Telegraf, 11/29/2014 [pdf]
“Srećan vam praznik nepostojeće države” (Happy holiday of a non-existent state), Mondo
Tanjug press agency informational piece.
“DAN REPUBLIKE: Sinonim za svinjokolj, sećanje na bivšu državu i pionirske marame! (FOTO) (VIDEO)” (Republic Day: A synonym for pig slaughter, remembering the former country, and Pioneer kerchiefs”), Telegraf, 11/29/2013 [pdf]
In addition to history notes, a more detailed description of pig slaughters, which became synonymous with the holiday.
“The holiday every year marks the existence of former Yugoslavia and represents one of the best memories for all those who lived there. Unfortunately, Republic Day did not survive the bloody war which tore the apart. Only remembering remains.”
“Kako se nekad slavio 29. novembar” (How 29 November used to be celebrated), Mondo, 11/29/2012 [pdf]
Claims Slovenes are the greatest Yugonostalgics, sending the most visitors to Tito’s grave in Belgrade.
In the Montenegrin town of Tivat “old fighters” and anti-fascists draw a parallel between happy times in what they call “the most beautiful country in the world” with the current political situation.
A big commemoration of the 69th anniversary was held in Jajce, attended by people from all former republics but mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia, with a meeting, ceremony, laying of wreaths at a monument, cultural program, and socializing.
Author points out the past is not studied in equal measure in the former republics, calls the anniversary “a birthday that is no longer celebrated.”
“LEPŠA PROŠLOST: Danas je bio Dan republike!” (A better past: Today was Republic Day!), Telegraf, 11/29/2012 [pdf]
Same Tanjug article as the Mondo piece above.
“Jugonostalgičari i dalje slave Dan republike,” Radio Televizija Vojvodine, 11/29/2011
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Reporter: “And how is modern Serbia today? Somewhere between Yugonostalgia and Euro-skepticism. No surprise that so many people don’t accept it and live in the past. November 29 is a time to ask, what do we really want?”
Remembering Dan Republike in Montenegro
“Tivat pretekao Podgoricu,” Radio Tivat, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
The General Consulate of SFRY unveiled on the Tivat waterfront a memorial to Tito, a replica of the Augustinčić statue whose original is in Kumrovec, a copy in Belgrade, and another, unveiled later, in Podgorica. The NGO also celebrated its 15th anniversary and co-sponsored (?) the “Ex-YU” party at Hotel Regent.
Tivat dobio Titov spomenik (Tivat Got a Tito Memorial), CDM, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
The memorial was sponsored by the Tivat-based nonprofit General Consulate of SFRY on the 15th anniversary of its existence. Report adopted from Boka News. See also Tivat Radio above.
“BORAČKE ORGANIZACIJE POLOŽILE VIJENCE NA SPOMEN BISTU IVANA MILUTINOVIĆA,” Dan, 11/30/2018
Commemoration in Podgorica, at the memorial to Ivan Milutinović, Hero of Yugoslavia and member of Montenegro’s delegation to the 1943 AVNOJ session.
“Dan republike: Praznik kojeg se stariji sa sjetom sjećaju” (Republic Day: Holiday which elders recall fondly), Vijesti
Informational TV news piece with archival images and the Zabranjeno pušenje song in the background, interspersed with a Q&A of passersby on the streets of Podgorica the older of whom remember it fondly.
“Jugoslavija u srcu” (Yugoslavia in the heart), Vijesti, 2015
Since 2000, Bijelo Polje resident Rasim Karahmetović has celebrated Republic Day with his Yugonostalgic friends, with food, drink, and songs. “We have been gathering to celebrate Republic Day, because of the love for people and the country that I still carry in my heart. I love Yugoslavia, where I had many comrades with whom I am still in contact today.”
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“Regent slavi i rođendan Titove Jugoslavije”, Boka News, 11/2/2015 [pdf]
(Regent also celebrates the birthday of Tito’s Yugoslavia) – Promo of the Regent Porto Montenegro club, which for the second year running organizes “YU Night Party” on the Republic Day anniversary, featuring Yugoslavian music and drinks.
Praznik države koju smo voljeli: 29. novembar-Dan Republike (Holiday of a Country We Loved). CDM, 11/25/2015 [pdf]
Dry informative article.
NVO „Generalni Konzulat SFRJ“ slavi Dan SFRJ (NGO General Consulate of SFRY Celebrates Day of SFRY), Boka News, 11/29/2014 [pdf]
In addition to celebrations in Tivat, a cultural program was held in the Kotor shopping center Kamelija, with a fashion show and performances, and across Montenegro.
Perković said the celebrations “remind us of this beautiful country, and how we used to be happy on that day.
As every year, a delegation from Montenegro attended the official commemoration in Jajce.
“Uz maršala Tita…” (With Marshal Tito)
A 21-second clip, work of an art student made for 29 November.
“Novljani obilježili Dan Republike” (Novljani [Serbian tribe] marked Republic Day), Vijesti
A youth association organized a celebration of the holiday at the popular restaurant Mali Raj (Small Paradise), attended by Novljani and representatives of WWII fighters’ association, “who remember those times with nostalgia.” They sang the YU anthem and revolutionary song. The youngsters said they initiated the occasion to “mark an important date that is historically significant for our society and whose values we can apply today.” Tanja Ateljević, the owner of the restaurant, which hosted Tito and prominent Yugoslavs in its 48 years in business, said “We are preserving the tradition with the wish to again see the time when honest work, knowledge, goodness, and human solidarity will be valued.”
Since 2002, when the holiday was abolished, “Yugonostalgics mark the former holiday with various activities.”
“Proslava Dana republike u “Kameliji”” (A celebration of Republic Day at Kamelija), Vijesti
A promo of a retro Republic Day celebration at the Shopping Center Kamelija in Kotor, which invites “citizens to “bravely and decisively” march to the shopping center on Saturday, where people in period costumes will be marking the day and a male and female comrade selected.
“Shopping Center Kamelija 29. 11. 2014. DAN REPUBLIKE”
A commemoration/celebration of Dan republike at a shopping mall in Kotor. Intro song “Računajte na nas” by Djordje Balašević (estrada version feat. Balašević (1981) / Rani Mraz version (1977) / 11 yo. Katarina Radulović version (Pinkove zvezdice, a Serbian kids’ version of American Idol, 2017) lyrics).
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“Dan Republike SFRJ slavi se u tivatskom hotelu “Regent”” (Republic Day to be celebrated in the Tivat hotel Regent), Vijesti
A luxury seaside hotel is holding a commemoration of the holiday, with period music and booze, to raise funds for an seriously injured town resident.
“NVO “Generalni konzulat SFRJ” na proslavi Dan republike u Jajcu” (NGO ‘SFRY General Consulate’ celebrating Republic Day in Jajce), Vijesti
A nonprofit in Tivat called SFRY General Consulate, led by “the Consul” Marko Perković, organized a prayer breakfast for reporters to mark “the holiday of holidays”, the “birthday of the most beautiful and prosperous country in the world.” The 10-year old NGO will also sent a delegation to the ceremony in Jajce, where the Slovenian delegation, led by Franko Pleško, will organize a parallel ceremony full of Yugoslavism.
Perković sees the NGO as a “carrier of Yugoslavism”, which organizes many events, including a big celebration of 25 May – Youth Day, the soccer tournament Marshal Tito Cup, commemorations of the Yugoslav War Naval Day on 10 September, the JNA Day on 22 December and the Security Day on 13 May. The NGO featured in a 2005 BBC documentary “Tito’s Ghost.” The NGO will “continue to protect the interests of Yugoslavia from attempts to falsify its history.” He claims that, due to its activities, the NGO is on a government black list of nonprofits, never to receive any public funding.
“Miks Titovih govora i ex-YU roka” (A mix of Tito’s speeches and ex-YU rock), Vijesti
The holiday will be celebrated at the Scottish Pub in “Titograd” (Podgorica), with period decorations, speeches, and clips.
“Dan Republike u Jajcu: “Hej Sloveni”, crvene zastave i pionirske marame” (Republic Day in Jajce: The anthem, red flags, and Pioneer kerchiefs), Vijesti
Many of the 1500 people attending the ceremony (held a few days early so it would fall on the weekend, which drew some complaints) held flags of Yugoslavia, featuring Tito’s likeness, and those of former Yugoslav republics, and sang the “Hey Slavs” anthem and partisan songs. Attendees included people with banners reading “Tito is the whole world, a world that does not recognize Tito, recognizes Hitler” and “With Tito in our heart we are inseparable and invincible” as well as anti-fascists from all former Yugoslav republics, communists, Yugonostalgics and others who came to pay homage to former Yugoslavia. Significantly fewer Montenegrins attended than in previous years. Program included laying of wreaths, speeches, music performances, and a thematic Božidar Jakac (Slovene) painting exhibit.
Boris Petković from Serbia said Yugoslavia was “a state that was respected, valued, prosperous, strong, recognized and well-known in the world. Let us not forget values that the Yugoslav partisans, led by Marshal Tito, fought, died, and spilled blood for.” We were “truly naive to have allowed ourselves to be deceived and for our differences to be used against us. Instead of uniting us and making us stronger, as it should be, our differences have divided us and broke the best country in the world. But standing before you today, my heart is full and my eyes are full of tears. I see here not Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Montenegrins, Slovenes, Macedonians—I see Yugoslavia and Yugoslavs, in one place, united in a new common struggle for what the generations before us left behind. The struggle for the creation of a new Yugoslav state.”
“U Bijelom Polju se prisjetili velikih datuma iz prošlosti” (In Bijelo Polje they commemorated important dates from the past), Vijesti
Representatives of the local Savez udruženja boraca Narodnooslobodilačkog rata (SUBNOR, Association of Fighters of the National Liberation War) laid wreaths at a monument to fallen soldiers. SUBNOR President Rajko Medojević said, “This day reminds us of the times when, under the flag of the Republic, we were all equal, had education and health care, and lived that we were working and living from our work.” He also instructed the young generation to guard and follow the true values ”which the Republic, whose day we celebrate, left for us.”
“Jugonostalgičari u Jajcu proslavili Dan Republike” (Yugonostalgics celebrated Republic Day in Jajce), Vijesti
Jajce was flooded with people wearing red Pioneer scarves and carrying Yugoslavia’s flags. Montenegro was represented by about 30 people from SUBNOR, League of Women Antifascists, and other associations as well as by the Ambassador of Montenegro to BiH, Dragan Djurović. SUBNOR rep Boro Banovic said today he remembered “the most beautiful moments of our former homeland of Yugoslavia” and that he was proud to be Montenegrin and have “our own Montenegro.” The organizer Dr. Enes Milak was pleased to see more and more visitors (“anti-fascists”) every year.
Program included laying of wreaths , music entertainment (the evening concert featured artists from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina; Macedonian delegations were absent from the whole event), an exhibition of photographs, lectures, and a poetry reading.
Local residents had mixed feelings about the celebration. Many disliked the fact it wasn’t on the 29th, others the sea of flags with the five-pointed star, while others still enjoyed the celebration.
Remembering Dan Republike in Bosnia and Herzegovina
There are no mentions of Republic Day in the major Bosnian media outlets online. Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrates independence day on November 25 (the Republika Srpska part on January 9), having “integrated some of the decisions underlying the original Dan Republike into its identity post-independence. November 25 was chosen as the country’s statehood day because Tito’s communists first recognized Bosnia-Herzegovina as a federal republic within Yugoslavia on that date in 1945. (Major Serb and Croat parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina object to the date and the existence of any state-wide statehood day).” [Balkanist]
Days of AVNOJ in Jajce
The AVNOJ Museum continues to operate in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the very same building where the Council held the 1943 session.
Since 2008—the museum was opened on 11/29/2008—on the last Saturday (weekend) in November, the Museum has been commemorating the 2nd AVNOJ session anniversary as Days of AVNJO. Anywhere from 1,000 to 2,5000 to “several thousand” people from all of Yugoslavia attend.
Museum director Emsada Leko said this about the event in 2014:
- Several thousand people gather from all parts of the former Yugoslavia. They usually come organized in groups.
- The program contents of: a solemn “academy” event with speeches and music performances, laying of flowers and wreaths at the Memorial Fountain to the Liberators of Jajce in World War II, and an opening of an exhibition at the Museum.
- Media interest is significant. Many outlets from the countries of the former Yugoslavia report on the event.
All videos in this section by Jajce Online.
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“U Jajcu, 75 godina kasnije,” Jajce Online, 11/29/2018 [pdf]
- “AVNOJ’s decisions resonate today. The last generations of students who learned in school about this event were born in the 1980s, and those who were born later here can begin to learn about the former country.”
- “The museum is at the center of tourism, and annually we see [20-] 30-thousand tourists. The Days of AVNOJ event has a great significance for the city in every respect.”
Section “Community is a tool for achieving success”:
- Almost everyone in Jajce says they live normally, next to each other but also together. They also reveal a secret: more mixed marriages have been recorded here over the past ten years than in the entire pre-war period.
- High school students raised their voice and said no to segregation and division in education. Nikola Sop High School students stood up against it and persisted. The youngsters walk together and spend time on the waterfalls, say that “it is wrong to teach us what distinguishes our nations. We believe that we can achieve much more together.”
- Many young people leave. One interviewee said, “We were refugees here and we are all returnees. Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks were all expelled from their city, and now we are returning together. However, we cannot stop this new outflow. Our city is getting smaller, nearly half of the population has left.”
“Više hiljada antifašista u Jajcu obilježilo 75. godišnjicu AVNOJ-a,” Jajce Online, 11/24/2018 [pdf]
“Dolazak u Jajce najavile delegacije iz svih zemalja bivše Jugoslavije,” Jajce Online, 11/22/2018 [pdf]
More than a thousand people attended, from all former Yugoslav republics.
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“Nakaš: Dva zasjedanja AVNOJ-a među najznačajnijim datumima u bh. historiji,” Klix.ba, 11/24/2017
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“Harmonika, petokrake i pjesme na obilježavanju 73. godišnjice Drugog zasjedanja AVNOJ-a u Jajcu,” Klix, 11/26/2016 [pdf]
Nearly 1,000 people from all parts of former Yugoslavia attended the event.
“Harmonika, petokrake i pijesme na obiljažavanju 73. godišnice Drugog zasjedanja AVNOJ-a u Jajcu,” Bug.ba, 11/26/2018 [pdf]
Nearly 1,000 people attended. Good photo gallery.
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“Jajce: 71. godišnjica Drugog zasjedanja AVNOJ,” Radio Slobodna Evropa, 11/24/2014
Nice photo gallery.
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“SABNOR BiH: Centralno obilježavanje godišnjice Drugog zasjedanja AVNOJ-a u Jajcu,” 24 Info, 11/24/2012
“U Jajcu 3.000 poštovalaca AVNOJ-a,” B92, 11/24/2012
“Kozaračko kolo i Thompsonove budnice,” Jutarnji List (Croatian outlet), 2/12/2007 [pdf]
The last celebration before Days of AVNOJ was marked by disagreements among different former repulics’ delegations as to how to celebrate after the official commemoration ceremony, including locations and refreshments. E.g. Slovenians proposed a potluck-style celebration but were the only ones who brought food. “All the delegations should have celebrated together but because of the disagreement about food and drinks, Yugoslavia fell apart again.”
About 600 people attended, dancing during the day and partying through the night.
This was the first time representatives of the city of Jajce participated as organizers of the official part of the program, in an effort to boost tourism by adopting the anniversary as part of its brand, the way Kumrovec does with Tito’s birthplace.
For one day, Jajce nostalgically lived as the center of the former SFRY. Outside of these events, Jajce lived its normal life.
Other Parts of Bosnia
Srbac, Republika Srpska:
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“U Bihaću obilježena 75. godišnjica AVNOJ-a: Ponosni smo na našu historiju i antifašizam,” Jajce Online, 11/29/2017 [pdf]
Dževad Kardaš, secretary of SABNOR-he Unsko-Sanski Canton:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina has a future only on the condition that stops the rehabilitation of fascist ideas and movements that want to break it.
- We are pleased that this date has been marked on the highest level and that delegations of anti-fascists from all over former Yugoslavia came to this ceremony. We anti-fascists fight for civil and indivisible Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the land of all its peoples, regardless of faith and nation, and only as such can it survive.”
Ibrahim Durmo board member of SABNOR BiH:
- Events like this show that people want to live together and do not want inter-entity divisions and demarcations.
- These manifestations stem from the people, who seek self-management, which was also the main feature of the former state, which provided the ordinary man with certain rights and opportunities. Bosnia and Herzegovina will be whatever the people want, and I think that these radical ideologies, which want to join us to Croatia and Serbia, are unsustainable and that they will soon pass because people return to this idea and in that context I believe in the survival of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its bright future.”
Hakija Abdic, President of the League of Anti-Fascists of South East Europe:
- AVNOJ is the vision of the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where modern Europe is trying to build its European community.
- Just as AVNOJ was important for the creation of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was equally important for the emergence of all the present-day states that were created by the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. That is why AVNOJ is our common heritage and a vision for the future. We do not have the right to give up AVNOJ because it would also give up our current state.
“Dan Republike: Kako se nekad slavio 29. novembar? – 29.11.2016,” TV K3, 11/29/2016
Prijedor, Republika Srpska:
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“Dan republike,” Alternativna Televizija (Republika Srpska), 11/29/2014
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Remembering Dan Republike in Croatia
Croatia was the first republic to stop celebrating Dan Republike, in 1990. It replaced the day with its own independence day, October 8.
In Croatia, Yugoslavia continues to be scrubbed out of historic existence, particularly by the (far) right, with others coming along for fear of being accused of anti-Croatianism.
“Croatia’s official policy towards the holiday has been one of enforced amnesia, characteristic of its rejection of any symbol associated with the socialist period.” [Balkanist] Material about the day in Croatian media is, therefore, scarce.
“Zašto se nekada 29. 11. slavio Dan republike? (1943.)” (Why Was Republic Day Celebrated on 29 November in the Past?), Dnevno
Summarizes the historic events in 1943, mentions nothing of post-war Yugoslavia. Today’s Croatian Constitution calls the borders of Yugoslavia established in 1943 as “AVNOJ borders.”
Remembering Dan Republike in Slovenia
Slovenia held the first referendum on independence in Yugoslavia, on December 23, 1990, with 88 percent of Slovenes voting in favor. Yugoslavia’s wealthiest nation, Slovenes wanted to stay in Yugoslavia the least.
Twenty-plus years later, commemorations of former Yugoslavia’s birthday are absent, with only essayistic reflections dotting the media landscape. Yugoslavia, while recognized as a historical reality, seems to have been put squarely in the past here, and recognized as something not to dwell on in the fast-moving, European-Union and globalization-focused current reality. It seems the Slovenes have dealt with it in the most positive, “nationally mature” way.
“Jugoslavija je crknila točno 29. novembra (2017)” (Yugoslavia crumbled on 29 November), Večer
A reflection on the day’s events in the Hague when the Croatian general Slobodan Praljak, the last convict to be sentenced at the International Court for Yugoslavia for, among other things destroying the Mostar Bridge, drank lethal poison at the sentencing hearing. “The unfortunate country was formally and literally decaying and decaying for a long time, formally and literally,” writes Marko Crnkovič, until meeting its “symbolic, typically pathetic Balkan end from spite [inat] on 29 November 2017, on its former Republic Day, precisely 74 years after its establishment…” Criticizes the reaction of the Croatian polity to the general’s suicide and asks, “Are Slovenes even aware who they have to deal with when they are clashing with profoundly traumatized Croats who cannot yet reasonably and rationally think about their recent history?”
Concludes with, “It’s really time for us to bury this goddamn Yugoslavia…. “[W]e stop to burden ourselves with trying to understand these old Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian traumas. If we didn’t get it yet, we had already done it quite well then. (Da ne bomo še mi kaj fasali, če smo jo že takrat še kar dobro odnesli.)”
Remembering Dan Republike in Macedonia
- Decisions of AVNOJ
- Decisions of AVNOJ Presidency
- “The Declaration from the Second Session of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia, November 29, 1943.” Arhiv Jugoslavije / Archives of Yugoslavia
- Declaration from the 2nd Session of AVNOJ
- Jajce Attractions: AVNOJ Museum. Lonely Planet
- Lynch, Lily. “Today Is Republic Day: 70 Years of Yugoslavia.” Balkanist. 11/25/2017
- Ninković Slavnić, Danka. “Celebrating Yugoslavia: The Visual Representation of State Holidays.” In: Luthar, Breda & Maruša Pušnik, eds. Remembering Utopia: The Culture of Everyday Life in Socialist Yugoslavia. Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2010.
- Sahovic, Dzenan & Dino Zulumovic. “Obsolete Cultural Heritage in Post-Conflict Environments. The Case of AVNOJ Museum in Jajce, Bosnia Herzegovina.” Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies. Vol. 14 , Issue 2, 2012
- Zabranjeno pušenje. “Dan Republike.” Pozdrav iz zemlje Safari. Diskoton, 1987
- PLUS all the online news articles referenced above.
- Vijesti commemorated the day every year with coverage on November 29. All articles linked to above were online in November 2017; by November 2018, they were all deleted from the Vijesti.me website, with no redirects, no replacements (via site search), and no Wayback Machine snapshots available.
- Some of Mondo articles are adopted from the press agency Tanjug.
- Telegraf runs a feature on Republic Day every year.
Zabranjeno pušenje: Dan Republike
|Danas je Dan Republike||Today is Republic Day|
|i stari je popio malo||and the old man drank a little|
|na televiziji Lepa Brena||Lepa Brena is on TV|
|i stari se sjeća ratnih vremena||and the old man reminisces about wartime.|
|Da bi danas bilo bolje||So that we would have it better today|
|oni su poturali svoja pleca||they made tremendous sacrifices.|
|Gazili hladne rijeke||They waded across icy rivers,|
|jeli koru s’ drveća||ate tree bark.|
|Žao mu je što neki misle||He’s sad that some think|
|da je život negdje drugdje||that good life is somewhere else,|
|i ne sanja se više stari san||and nobody dreams the old dream.|
|Čekaju pasoš da odu van||Everyone’s just waiting for a passport to go abroad|
|Danas je dan, Dan Republike||Today is the day, Republic Day|
|I stara kaže, Dragane šuti||And the old woman says, “Shut up, Dragan,|
|skrati jezik, mogu te čuti.||keep it down, they could hear you.”|
|Dan, Dan Republike||The day, Republic Day|
|Danas je dan, Dan Republike||Today is the day, Republic Day|
|Danas je Dan Republike||Today is the day, Republic Day,|
|i stari se sjeća ratnih dana||and the old man is reminiscing about the war days.|
|žao mu je što se ni klinci||He’s sad that even the kids|
|vise ne igraju partizana||aren’t playing Partisans anymore|
|Danas svako zna||Today everyone knows|
|da je glava samo jedna||that there’s only one head|
|Danas svako zna||Today everyone knows|
|pred kim pasti na koljena||before whom to kneel|
|Danas je Dan Republike i stari kaže otvorite prozore||Today is Republic Day and the old man says, “Open the windows.”|
|Pijan je i čini mu se||He’s drunk and it seems to him|
|da logorske vatre u daljini gore||that camp fires burn in the distance|
|I stara kaže, jesi l’ normalan Dragane||And the old woman says, “Are you crazy, Dragan?|
|zatvaraj prozore, ne radi grijanje||Shut the windows, the heat isn’t working.”|
|I stara kaže, Dragane šuti||And the wife says, “Shut up, Dragan,|
|skrati jezik, mogu te čuti||keep it down, they could hear you.”|