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We consider Vidovdan to be the greatest holiday: Here is what happened on that day

Every June 28th we remember the Kosovo heroes, but also all the temptations that the Serbian people faced on this day

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There are numerous holidays celebrated by the people of Serbia, but none of them awakens a feeling of community, of belonging and patriotism as Vidovdan. However, this, for many the biggest day of the Serbs, is not on the list of national holidays that are celebrated by not working.

Church in the middle of Serbia is unique in the world, it has one of the greatest mosaics: 28 members of the Karadjordjevic dynasty are buried here (PHOTO)

The first, the forerunner of all our Vidovdan's events happened exactly 630 years ago. The battle that killed both rulers, in which countless soldiers lost lives and which announced the loss of freedom for the Serbian people, is inextricably linked to the idea of martyrdom and the definition of eternal versus transitory. And all of this is reflected in - Vidovdan!

Vidovdan was first proclaimed to be a national holiday in 1889. at 500 year anniversary of Kosovo battle. But, this day wasn't always marked as a state holiday. There was a part of history when it wasn't marked at all.

After 1929, King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic forbade the official celebration of Vidovdan as a state holiday. In light of the creation of the former state of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, it was clear that Serbian specific holidays no longer had the support of the ruler. Under the excuse that it was too nationalistic and that it jeopardizes the idea of "integral Yugoslavism", this holiday was abolished.

Kralj Aleksandar I Karađorđević

Portret viteškog kralja Aleksandra I Ujedinitelja. Foto: Wikipedia/DIREKTOR

It was celebrated as a national holiday in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and it was returned as a national holiday in 2001, but it is not celebrated by not working. Why?

Sociologist Slobodan Vukovic explains to Portal Telegraf that not every holiday should be non-working, but that day was declared by the people as the greatest Serbian holiday.

- There are a lot of state holidays in our country, and Vidovdan is marked in many places in different ways. There, by opening the National Museum on this day, I consider that as a celebration - he explains.

Vukovic explains that Vidovdan has a historical significance, no matter the fact the Kosovo Battle was lost, and that many people died in it.

Kosovka devojka

Foto: Wikipedia/Uroš Predić

The folk poetry contributed a lot to it because, Vidovdan was characterized as a great day, and folk creation has always had a great influence on the creation of value judgments. The state may not have placed on the list of non-working days, but that doesn't diminish its significance - Vukovic said.

Religious analyst Drasko Djenovic thinks Vidovdan is much more important in the historical part, rather than as a church holiday.

- Vidovdan is a symbol of the loss of freedom, but also the great battle for freedom, and a lot more things are related to it that happened throughout history. Somehow, it always happened that fateful decisions were made on this day. If it weren't for those historical events to give it such a significance and if the church didn't preserve ethical values, this holiday wouldn't have had such a great influence - Djenovic explains.

Dramatic events from the newer history just strengthened its symbolism - from the mythical Kosovo choice for the kingdom of heaven, to the Princip's shooting in the city on Miljacka, to the rise and fall of Slobodan Milosevic and creating the accession negotiations with the European Union. Some say - its fate, others - a coincidence, but these events made the mixed feelings of pride and aching while awaiting for each Vidovdan in Serbia.


The original reason why is Vidovdan so sacred are the stories of heroism, sacrifice, spiritual rise after the heavy defeat and choosing the Kingdom of Heaven instead of the Earth. The death of Serbian fighters in Kosovo is the largest event in Serbian history and one of the most significant for the forming of national identity.

Boj na Kosovu, Kosovski boj

Foto: Wikimedia


By this agreement, Serbia committed itself not to conclude any political or economic agreements with other countries, without the prior approval of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In exchange for complete subordination to Vienna, the Serbian state and the Obrenovic dynasty became internationally recognized independence as a kingdom.


Just a few hours after the celebration of the Vidovdan was over, Bulgarians performed an attack on Bregalnica, which was the introduction to the Second Balkan War.

Srpska vojska, Kraljevina Srbija, Balkanski ratovi, Prvi balkanski rat, Drugi balkanski rat

Bratski sastanak srpske i crnogorske vojske kod Lješa tokom Prvog balkanskog rata 1912. godine


The plan of the Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Franc Ferdinand was to humiliate and discipline disobedient Serbs in Sarajevo on Vidovdan. However, on the wings of the Kosovo myth of sacrifice, Gavrilo Princip shot at Ferdinand and killed him.

Gavrilo Princip, zadnje pismo Gavrila Principa

Foto: Wikimedia


The Versailles Agreement, which ended the First World War, was signed on June 28, 1919, in which there is a real symbolism since the war began with the attack on Serbia. 

Francuska, Prvi svetski rat

Foto: Tanjug/AP/National World War I Museum and Memorial


The highest legal act of future Yugoslavia started the period of the common life of the Slovenian people, but already in the process of its creation, there were visible potential political conflicts that would ruin the country in the next decades.


Another Vidovdan, when Serbia, then within Yugoslavia, had to choose between the East and the West. On this day, the relations between Tito's Yugoslavia and the Eastern Bloc were definitely interrupted which consisted of the Soviet Union and other satellite states.


Precisely on Vidovdan, Slobodan Milosevic became a national leader of Serbs in the eyes of his opponents and the entire world when he held the speech on Gazimestan on the occasion of 600 years of Kosovo Battle.

Slobodan, Marija Milosević

Foto: Profimedia


On June 28, 1990, with the deliberate symbolism, with the amendments to the Croatian Constitution, the Serbs ceased to be the constituent people of this republic.


Exactly 12 years after the Gazimestan speech, Milosevic was extradited to The Hague. The extradition date almost caused more criticism than the event itself. Some say that it is a national humiliation, while others believe that with this date, Milosevic was given a chance to into history again on Vidovdan. 

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(Telegraf.co.uk / Gorica Avalic / g.avalic@telegraf.rs)

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