The eighth Bunjevo Creativity Seminar, staged with the support of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, gathered over fifty participants from across the European Union. The Matija Gubec Croatian Culture and Education Society is the main seminar organiser and provided most of the lecturers.
The diligent caretakers of the traditional culture of the Bunjevo region Croats have organised the eighth Bunjevo Creativity Seminar, staged with the support of the Croatian Heritage Foundation in Tavankut from the 8th to 14th of July of this year. The event gathered over fifty participants from across the European Union. The Matija Gubec Croatian Culture and Education Society, the main seminar organiser, is one of the oldest ethnic Croatian culture and arts associations in the Vojvodina region. It was founded back in 1946. Most of the event lecturers are from this association, including folklore section head Ivica Dulić, folk costume lecturer Kata Suknović, singing section head Tamara Štricki Seg, association president and head of the history section Ladislav Suknović, the head of the tamburitza orchestra Vojislav Temunović, and traditional instrument lecturer Augustin Žigmanov. A gala concert of the Bunjevo Creativity Seminar participants was held on Saturday at the Balažević ethno salaš (farmstead) featuring gaida bagpipe players, tamburitza players, singers and dancers wearing the stunning Bunjevo folk costumes from the holdings of the Matija Gubec Croatian Culture and Education Society. The performances of Bunjevo dances, bagpipe playing and excellent singing by the participants of the seminar were well-received and applauded by the large audience. The seminar also included a naïve art colony focusing on the straw technique. Deputy CHF director Ivan Tepeš greeted the straw artists of the 34th meeting of this straw art colony. A documentary film was screened about Aunt Mara, one of the first straw artists in the Bačka region. The seminar participants learned about the technique of creating souvenirs made of straw from Jozefa Skenderović, while Ljubica Vuković Dulić spoke of the history of this art form and accounts of the making of straw crowns, one of the core symbols of the Dužijanca harvest festival. Jozefa Skenderović is, in fact, the creator of this year’s Dužijanca crown for the festival staged on the 14th of July this year in Tavankut with a parade of young and old wearing Bunjevo folk costumes and taking part in a Catholic mass to express thanks for a good harvest and bread at the Heart of Jesus church. As this year’s event bandašica (music/harvest leader) Antonija Rudić nicely puts it, the Dužijanca festival showcases all the beauty of the traditions, ancient customs, clothing and colours that make up the fabric of a beautiful and dignified way of life.
The Dužijanca festival also includes a contest for scythe reapers with Ivan Tepeš, deputy CHF director, and Snježana Jurišić, also from the CHF staff, invited to take part as guests by UBH Dužijanca president Marinko Piuković. It is one of the chief events and was staged this year in front of St Joseph the Worker church in the village of Đurđin. Twenty-eight pairs took part this year from Croatia, Serbia and Hungary with the title deservingly clinched by Subotica native Stipan Kujundžić, assisted by reaper helper Juža Ruhas from Ljutovo. Also on hand for the festivities were Goran Bakota, the Croatian ambassador to Serbia, our general consul Velimir Pleša, the president of the Democratic Alliance of Croatians in Vojvodina Tomislav Žigmanov, representatives of the Croatian National Council, Subotica deputy mayor Timea Horvat and many other guests of honour, which speaks volumes of the significance of this event as a festival of culture and tourism annually gathering many people from across the region.
This, the chief harvest festival among the Bunjevo Croats, will stage its main event on the 11th of August with a Catholic mass at the Saint Teresa of Ávila cathedral in Subotica. This year or next the festival in Tavankut, “where the sun kisses the Bačka region”, or any of the other venues across the Vojvodina region where Bunjevo Croats celebrate the Dužijanca festival, is certainly worth visiting.
By: Snježana Jurišić