Twenty stunningly adorned girls from fourteen countries around the world showcased their wonderful folk costumes during the five-day event in July in neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Stećak Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Croatian Traditional Culture in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Croatian Heritage Foundation are co-organisers of the 5th Traditional Folk Costume Review and Miss Croatian Folk Costume Pageant for Croatians Abroad. The 2018 first prize for Miss Croatian Folk Costume went to Martina Romić from Vojvodina, the first runner up prize went to German resident Klara Jamić, second runner up was Noemi Molnar from the ethnic Croatian community of Hungary, and the Miss Photogenic prize, selected by votes cast via Facebook, went to Danica Vinčec from Canada. All of the twenty young women from around the world participating in this pageant proudly wore their traditional folk costumes for the five-day event programme of the 5th Traditional Folk Costume Review and Miss Croatian Folk Costume Pageant for Croatians Abroad, staged from the 3rd to 7th of July of this year in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
At the opening of the final evening of the event CHF deputy director Ivan Tepeš spoke of the objectives of this event, organised in a collaborative effort between the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Stećak association, noting that, “Young Croatian women from around the world are here to showcase the wealth of Croatian folklore heritage and, through song and folk costumes, demonstrate their love for the homeland. It is precisely this synergy of theirs, along with the promotion of our traditional culture, that reaffirms the robust connect edness of the Croatian national entity.”
On hand to greet the large audience, including leading figures from the cultural, social and political scenes, on behalf of the event sponsor was Ms Ivana Perkušić, the deputy to the state secretary at the State Office for Croats Abroad ZvonkoMilas. In her introductory welcome she congratulated everyone on their work in nurturing and preserving Croatian culture and traditional customs and noted that, “We are not branches without roots, we have sprouted from a single culture regardless of where we live, and that is proven by these girls from around the world who wear the folk costume of their grandmothers with pride.”
Speaking on behalf of the Stećak association Marija Krolo greeted the gathered and expressed her gratitude for the support that is essential for this pageant to be held received from Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency member Dragan Čović, the State Office for Croats Abroad, the Government of Hercegbosanska County and the Municipality of Tomislavgrad. She also greeted the many dignitaries on hand, including Dejan Vanjek, the representative of Mr Čović, Croatian Parliament Deputy Speaker Milijan Brkić, Nives Tiganj, the envoy of Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina culture minister Zora Dujmović, the Croatian general consul in Bosnia-Herzegovina Jadranka Modrić, City of Zagreb assembly speaker Andrija Mikulić, Ivan Jozić, president of the Government of Hercegbosanska County and many others.
The young women and their companions spent five unforgettable days in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Day one saw them at the Carmel of St Elijah monastery at Lake Buško to take part in a meet and greet workshop where they were presented with the event programme and participants. Day two saw them at work in Solin attending a photo session in folk costume in the authentic setting of the Marian shrine of Gospin Otok. All the participants were later cordially received by deputy mayor Ivica Rakušić. After the visit to Solin the participants moved on the Sinj Alka Museum in Knin, winner of the 2018 Europa Nostra prize for cultural heritage, and were received there by museum director Boris Filipović Grčić.
On Wednesday there was a visit to the Franciscan museum and the Gorica gallery in Livno. This was followed by a reception given by Municipality of Tomislavgrad mayor Ivan Vukadin, where the pageant participants demonstrated their singing skill and the results of the preparations for the appearance at the final evening of the review. That evening the participants were invited to attend the opening of the 42nd Imotska Sila summer festival, where they were received by mayor Ivan Budalić.
On Thursday the review participants visited Sarajevo in the company of Stup Parish priest Miroslav Čavar. The visit included a meeting with Vrhbosna Archbishop Cardinal Vinko Puljić who thanked the participants and event organisers on everything they have done to preserve Croatian traditions and culture.
Friday, the 6th of July, saw the height of the preparations. Sitting on the panel of judges were Marija Perić, a businesswoman in Tomislavgrad, Ms Željana Zovko, a Member of European Parliament, Jozo Pavković, the chief editor of the Večernji List newspaper’s Bosnia-Herzegovina edition,PetarGalić, the minister for science, education, culture and sports in the government of Hercegbosanska County, Munja CEO Ivan Miloloža, and pop singer Miroslav Škoro.
Participating in this year’s event were Danica Vinčec from Canada; Katarina Jakšić from the United States of America, Ana Martinović and Klara Jamić from Germany, Anka Svjetlana Fakrać from Romania; Antonella Rašić from Austria, Dragica Kunstek from Bolivia, Rozalija Francesković and Sara Grbac from Montenegro, Martina Romić from Serbia, Ivana Klišanin from Sweden, Martina Mandolesi from Italy, Marlena Šimunović, Ivana Jurić and Martina Rajič from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Noemi Molnar from Hungary, Stefanija Kostadinova and Marija Kostadinova from Macedonia, Barbara Boydell from Australia, and Josipa Golome from Kosovo.
By: Snježana Jurišić