Ivo Jelušić, Member of Croatian Parliament and vice president of the parliamentary committee on Croatians abroad and president of the CHF board of directors, and CHF director Marin Knezović met with the Croatians of Bač and Subotica and took part in the 6th Gubec Ball in Tavankut.
An invitation to the Gubec Ball in Tavankut and the local school’s annual celebration, organised by the Matija Gubec Croatian Culture & Education Society and Matija Gubec Elementary School, was an opportunity for Ivo Jelušić, Member of Croatian Parliament and vice president of the parliamentary committee on Croatians abroad and president of the CHF board of directors, and Croatian Heritage Foundation director Marin Knezović to visit the Croatians of the Bačka region from February 7th to 9th.
A visit was undertaken in the company of a number of members of ethnic Croatian Šokac associations from the town of Bač and its environs on February 7th to St Mary’s Franciscan monastery, which dates from the 12th century. Friar Josip Špehar spoke of its rich history and priceless monastic cultural heritage. This has been recognised by the European Community and the monastery has been included in a programme for the integral reconstruction of the cultural heritage of southeastern Europe.
A meeting was held in the town of Subotica on February 8th at the premises of the National Council of the Croatian National Community. At the meeting Slaven Bačić, president of the Council, Petar Kuntić, a Member of the Serbian National Assembly and Tomislav Žigmanov, director of the Institute for the Culture of Vojvodina Croatians, informed their guests of the current issues and problems that have remained unresolved for the Croatian community in Vojvodina for years. Certainly the greatest single issue is the lack of a direct minority group deputy in the Serbian parliament, in spite of legislation that provides for this, and access to information and school textbooks.
After a tour of the cathedral of St Teresa of Avila, the renowned Subotica city hall and other buildings of cultural value, most built in the recognisable Hungarian secessionist style, the guests visited Lake Palić. In the evening they were guests of the traditional Gubec Ball, now in its sixth consecutive year – it aims to cherish the nice traditions of former family gatherings at communal bees. Joining the guests from the Croatian Heritage Foundation was special advisor to the Mayor of the City of Zagreb Biserka Bucković, advisor Tihana Jurić and Vjeran Štublin, head of the Zagreb County department for education, culture, sports and technical education.
The guests wrapped up their visit February 9th at a Tavankut salaš (farmstead) where they were cordially welcomed by their hosts, including the honorary president of the Matija Gubec Croatian Culture & Education Society Branko Horvat and the association’s current president Ladislav Suknović. In northern Bačka, they noted, the salaš was a certainly a place of hard work, but also one of warm and homey atmosphere.
Text by: Marija Hećimović