Trako Poljak [Abstract]

Change and contestation of meaning in the commemoration of Croatian Statehood Day
[Full text]

Tijana Trako Poljak [1]

Abstract:   This paper examines issues surrounding the existing lack of more active engagement of Croatian citizens in the commemoration of some of the most important national holidays, in particular the Statehood Day. The paper is divided into two parts: the changes in the commemoration of the Statehood Day by the political leadership over the past 25 years (macro-perspective), and the reasons for the lack of engagement of Croatian citizens in its celebration today (micro-perspective). We will first go back to the year 1990 when Croatian political elite and the citizens en masse and passionately celebrated the first Statehood Day, and compare this to the quite meagre commemorations that we have witnessed over the past years. We will then present the results of qualitative empirical research conducted in 2013 using the method of in-depth semi-structured interviews, in which Croatian citizens themselves discuss their personal involvement in the commemoration of national holidays, and the reasons why they have not engaged more actively in the Statehood Day celebration. Some of the issues that arise over the past years cannot be explained by natural multivocality of symbols, or the “cooling down” of “hot nationalism” of the 1990s. Main issues primarily arise from the lack of continuity and contestation of meaning of this national holiday, at both the level of the political leadership and the level of “ordinary” citizens.

Keywords: National holidays, national identity, hot and cold nationalism, Statehood Day, Croatia

[1] University of Zagreb, Croatia,