The Old Man
A bit of yugo-nostalgia today… November 29th was the biggest public holiday in former Yugoslavia. At the very least it was on a par with Labour Day (May 1st). Born in late 70’s I still had the opportunity to observe how the first thing people did was to check on which day the 29th “fell”, i.e.: what day of the week it was. Because if it was a Thursday (like today), people would normally take Friday off and all of a sudden they were facing a prospect of a mini-holiday at the end of November.
It was a feast for us kids as well, because a week before that schools were abuzz with “bratstvo in jedinstvo” (broterhood and unity). Sometimes kids from other republics came to visit (we never went anywhere – it was an injustice, it was!), most of the time army recruits from local barrack came to give lectures about the Yugoslay National Army and what an honour it was for them to serve in Tito’s army (well, they had to say it, because our class teacher was married to a high-ranking Colonel in Ljubljana army district), and we all felt that this day must really be important – and by extention we felt important too.
But why 29 November? On that day in 1943 the second session of Antifasistic Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (Antifašictičko viječe narodnog odlobodjenja Jugoslavije – AVNOJ) took place in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where (among other things) the council was declared the supreme legislative body, removed the king from power (but stopped short of declaring a republic), made Comrade Tito a marshal and – perhaps most importnatnly – decided that all five nations (Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Motenegrians and Macedonians) will remain within Yugoslavia. Basically, Yugoslavia was re-established on that day after it was wiped off the map two-and-a-half years earlier by aggresion of Nazi Germany.
Before rabid nationalists come flocking this way, let me also add, that one of the decisions AVNOJ took was, that nations of Yugoslavia decided on their commom future based on an inalienable right of self-declaration which was one of the strongest legal arguments for Slovene declaration of independence 48 years later.
But to quote apatrid over at the Lexicon of Yugoslav Mythology: “only pigs had an aversion to the glorious date“. Late autumn is slaugher time in this part of the world