HMI executive secretary Diana Mašala Perković made an official two-day visit to the Croatian community of southern Hungary on the occasion of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Croatian language instruction in Santovo and the 10th Croatian national pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Đud.

A symposium was staged on the 21st of May at the Culture Centre in Santovo on the beginnings of Croatian language school instruction in Hungary. Đuro Franković and Stjepan Blažetin, the director of the Hungarian Croatian Institute of Sciences, related the history of Croatian language education in Hungary, Croatian schools and the raising of a sense of awareness of membership in the ethnic community. Also on hand to address the gathered were Ivan Gugan, president of the Croatian national self-government, and Joso Šibalin, director of the school in Santovo. The presentations were followed by a culture programme prepared by the school pupils.
Also on hand were Ksenija Majcan-Franjković of the Croatian science, education and sports ministry and Vesna Haluga, the Croatian general consul in Pécs. A visit was organised following the anniversary celebration to Croatian language kindergartens and schools. The Croatian science, education and sports ministry will, at the initiative of general consul Haluga and Croatian Heritage Foundation director Marin Knezović, donate textbooks for the needs of the schools holding classes in ethnography, these being Croatian language and literature textbooks for elementary school grades 1 through 8 and history and geography textbooks for elementary school grades 5 through 8.
The 10th Croatian national pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Đud/Máriagyüd in the Hungarian part of the Baranja (Baranya) region was staged on the 22nd of May. The pilgrimage was organised by the Croatian national self-government on the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Trinity. The programme kicked off in the morning hours with a Roman Catholic mass in the Hungarian and Croatian languages. Máriagyüd – one of the oldest Marian shrines – has for ages been the destination of pilgrims from the Slavonia, Srijem and Bosnia regions. Today it gathers Croatians from across Hungary and the broader neighbourhood. An altar was erected in 1938 in the open space next to the shrine to meet the needs of the very great number of pilgrims. A part of the monastery was adapted to serve as the Pécs’ diocese Domus Mariae dormitory for pilgrims. The celebrations were covered by Hungarian state television. It has been said that in earlier centuries the region was visited to “enrich the spirit, find peace in tranquillity and healing for the passer-by and pilgrim.”

Text by: Naida Šehović