The event was sponsored by the Croatian National Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Central State Office for Croats Abroad and the Croatian Heritage Foundation, and held under the auspices of Marinko Čavar, the president of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bojan Domić, the education, science, culture and sports minister of the Central Bosnia Canton, Mirjana Plavčić, the canton’s finance minister and the Prsten association of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The town of Jajce was host to the 2nd Cultural and Religious Heritage of the Croatians of Bosnia-Herzegovina event, this time under the “Let’s Bring Hope Back to Our Native Land” motto. Jajce is known for once holding the status of a royal city and this event marks the 558th anniversary of the coronation of the last of the kings of Bosnia, Stjepan Tomašević.
The event was sponsored by the Croatian National Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Central State Office for Croats Abroad and the Croatian Heritage Foundation, and was held under the auspices of Marinko Čavar, the president of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bojan Domić, the education, science, culture and sports minister of the Central Bosnia Canton, Mirjana Plavčić, the canton’s finance minister and the Prsten association of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The event opened on Saturday at the culture centre in Jajce with a concert by the Marco Polo ensemble out of Zagreb under the direction of Ante Milić. The concert celebrates the 558th anniversary of the coronation of the last of the Bosnian kings, with the full house enjoying performances of Renaissance period music by Croatian and foreign composers and fifteenth and sixteenth century church melodies from Hvar and Murter.
The event programme on Sunday opened with a gathering of culture and arts societies and guests at St Mary’s coronation church where they were welcomed by Anto Brtan, the president of the event organising committee and the director of the Agency for Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage and the Development of Tourism Potential of the City of Jajce.
Members of the Knights of the Royal City of Jajce association laid a bouquet of white lilies at the entrance to the church in honour of the last king of Bosnia. They then led a parade through the town to the local church dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to attend a Roman Catholic mass. The mass, broadcast live on public broadcaster Radio Television Herceg-Bosna, was led by Jajce parish priest and Franciscan guardian friar Vinko Marković. The ceremonial parade then moved on to the culture centre for the afternoon segment featuring a review of traditional culture, folk costumes, dances and customs of the Croatians of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Jajce municipal council chairman Ivo Šimunović was there to welcome everyone on behalf of the event organisers. Radoje Vidović, the president of the Central Bosnia county committee of the Croatian Democratic Union party of Bosnia-Herzegovina was also there on behalf of the Croatian National Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, an umbrella political organisation.
Žana Ćorić, was also at the event, she is the advisor with special status for Croats abroad at the Central State Office for Croats Abroad and was in attendance on behalf of state secretary Zvonko Milas, who heads the state office. In his words to the gathered participants Croatian Heritage Foundation director Mijo Marić said that the first event under the “Let’s Bring Hope Back to Our Native Land” motto was held last year in Sesvetska Sopnica, a part of Zagreb’s easternmost Sesvete district, with a lavish culture and arts programme featuring heritage clubs of Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina active in Croatia, and culture and arts associations from Bosnia-Herzegovina. This year the honour of hosting the event fell to the ancient royal city of Jajce, Marić continued, adding that this is particularly symbolic in light of the 558th anniversary of the coronation of the last of the kings of Bosnia, Stjepan Tomašević.
Performing at the packed hall of the culture centre in Jajce were the Prijatelji folklore ensemble of Jajce, the Izidor Poljak HKUD (Croatian Culture and Arts Society) of Boće near Brčko, the Donja Rama HKUD of Gračac near Prozor-Rama, the Kočerin HKUD from Široki Brijeg, the Topala HKUD of Vitez, the Matija Gubec KPD (Culture and Education Society) of Bakovići near Fojnica, the Hutovo HKUD of Neum, the Sloga IFG (Original Folklore Group) of Guča Gora, the Kralj Tomislav HKUD of Tomislavgrad, and the Napredak HKD (Croatian Culture Association) local chapters in Vitez, Bugojno and Jajce.
Their performances of the traditional songs, dances and customs of the Croatians of Bosnia-Herzegovina and their stunning folk costumes delighted the audience in Jajce. The honour of closing this year’s “Let’s Bring Hope Back to Our Native Land” event fell to its originator, friar Stipo Karajica. He said that next year’s event would be staged in war torn and devastated Bosanska Posavina canton. The folklore review was followed by a reception for all the event participants.
A commemoration was held later that day at the monument to fallen Croatian defenders in Jajce where members of the Katarina Kosača Women’s Association of Jajce, the Knights of the Royal City of Jajce, and the municipal committee of the youth wing of the Croatian Democratic Union party of Bosnia-Herzegovina were joined by the members of the organising committee and guests to light candles for all those who fell in Vukovar and Škabrnje during the Homeland War of independence, with friar Filip Karadža, the parish priest in Podmilačje, leading a memorial service. A violin recital was given by Sara Dramac and Ana Barišić, pupils of the 13. rujna (Thirteenth of September) Elementary School in Jajce.
Members of the youth wing of the Croatian Democratic Union party of Bosnia-Herzegovina also lit candles on Vukovarska road in Jajce. There was also a book promotion featuring Leonard Valent’s book Kamenom satkana prošlost – srednjovjekovni gradovi Bosne (“A Past Woven in Stone – The Medieval Towns of Bosnia”). Joining the author to promote the book were Slobodanka Prtija, an associate professor with the history department of the University of Banja Luka’s Faculty of Philosophy, and Edin Bujak, a teaching associate with the archaeology section of the history department of the University of Sarajevo’s Faculty of Philosophy. The promo event was enriched by performances of medieval music by the Fugato ensemble of Zenica.
By: Anto Brtan
Photography: Samed Žužić