Accepted Paper:

Politics and changes in selection of tradition: from regional to pro-European orientation of the feast of St.Martin  

Authors:

Juraj Belaj (Institute of Archaeology)
Filomena Sirovica

Paper short abstract:

Using the example of the feast of St. Martin in a small town in Northwestern Croatia, the authors track the changes which the feast has undergone in the recent period – a period which was politically turbulent and marked by frequent shifts in political orientation.

Paper long abstract:

Using the example of the feast of St. Martin in a small town in Northwestern Croatia, the authors track the changes which the feast has undergone in the recent period - a period which was politically turbulent and marked by frequent shifts in political orientation. St. Martin has been the Patron Saint of this small town for a very long time and the celebration of the town's Founders Day has been included in the feast of St. Martin. Hence, image building of the town is closely linked to St. Martin.

By following the feast of St. Martin through different time periods (from the communist period in Yugoslavia to the recent periods marked by Croatia's preparation to joint the EU), the authors have analyzed the practices which, from the entire symbolic inventory related to St. Martin, have selected the elements which are closely connected with politics. Those elements are commonly, but unjustifiably, linked to certain historical facts and this new re-interpretation emphasizes their 'firm' and 'obvious' relationship. In this process, St. Martin has evolved from a local, regional Saint, who baptizes grape must each Fall, to the Saint who has "again" returned from France, which made this little town a part of the network of the places following the tradition of St. Martin, a certain European cultural itinerary. Furthermore, the re-interpretations of the recent local archeological findings have, in certain town celebratory occasions, "brought to life" the history of the Knights Templar, a pro-European symbol par excellance.

Panel P61
Feast and ritual in the regeneration of society