ABOUT CULTURE AND HERITAGE, PRACTITIONERS AND THEIR MEETINGS FROM VIEWPOINT OF “DRUŽINA”- KEEPERS OF CROATIAN EXTENDED FAMILIES’ TRADITION

Croatia
Professor Dr. Manda Svirac and Dr. Marija Raguž
Community engagement, Education
Intangible, Natural
2019
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As an NGO "Družina" engages and connects people throughout Croatia as well as people from Croatia with people from different countries of Europe and World. Heritage is dynamic, among other things, and set into motion by experts through educational workshops in collaboration with heritage keepers and through implementation of know-how during different types of meetings in the work of "Družina" since its foundation. Sustainability of any cultural elements, as we have shown through the mentioned festivals, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and round tables, should always reflect the character of interpersonal relations, respecting other, getting to know others and spending time together. All of that has been accentuated through different representational, rather than competitive programs. The messages of heritage today are the ones of memorial, tourist and educational values.

ABOUT CULTURE AND HERITAGE, PRACTITIONERS AND THEIR MEETINGS FROM VIEWPOINT OF “DRUŽINA”- KEEPERS OF CROATIAN EXTENDED FAMILIES’ TRADITION Traditional culture is a phenomenon connected deeply to people, to humans; it refers to ways of living, everyday habits and rituals passed down from generation to generations. Since heritage keepers are the ones who matter, whether as performers or as organizers in these modern times, tradition has a character of a living organism within culture. It is represented by the things we inherit, keep and live by passing them on through social interaction with others. "Družina" - Keepers of Croatian Extended Families’ Tradition is a Croatian non-governmental organization founded in Zagreb in 1992 with the goal of researching and presenting Croatian traditional heritage both in our country and around the world through different activities. Since 1998 it organizes a folklore festival - Meeting of Culture and Peoples. Most of the means and time are invested into travels of international meaning. Croatian folklore groups go abroad, and foreign groups come to Croatia, where they get acquainted with Croatian heritage by visiting nearby cities and museums or Zagreb. The guests' wishes to experience theirs hosts' culture in local and wider area are being met. "Družina" members are legal entities, mostly folklore groups, but there are also some individuals. Annual activities of "Družina" are presented in the publication Putovanja (Journeys). Since the very beginning, "Družina" includes experts, cultural anthropologists and anthropology students, in various activities, and through its President, the association is also connected to theologians, religion related subjects and religiously inspired traditions present in Europe. The interaction of folklore groups and experts within and by "Družina" enables experts to do field research and to be active in safeguarding of heritage together with heritage keepers. An example of such a collaboration is the exhibition named Od Cvjetnice do Uskrsa (From Palm Sunday to Easter). It changes venues every year, and it is held annually since 2000. Few catalogues have been published in that period and every year the exhibition is accompanied by a workshop. The workshop introduces traditional techniques of decorating Easter eggs, while workshop instructors are practitioners of this kind of heritage and members of the local culture. During all the exhibitions organized up to today, research on Lent and Easter period was undertaken and the exhibited collection grew. Artifacts from the collection were compared to those decorated in similar techniques and to objects belonging to other local identities in Europe, such as those from Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania, Spain, Hungary. Based on that work, representativeness and uniqueness of one technique was recognized. It is the braiding technique of decorating Easter eggs originating from a part of Croatia near the town Đakovo. That is why the mentioned technique was suggested for the protection as intangible cultural heritage. The procedure was put in motion by "Družina" and its President, and was finalised in 2013 when Croatian Ministry of Culture granted the braiding technique the status of an intangible cultural good and protected it on a national level by inscription into the Register of Cultural Goods. Following this initiative, it was possible to further intensify the research and present the technique in the publication Vodič kroz radionice (Guide through Workshops). It is worth the effort to get to know, learn and be able to use this technique as a part of one own's identity in the evermore present globalistic atmosphere. In new circumstances we live in nowadays, the need for systematic and team work is accentuated more than ever. The occasion for that are the workshops organized in schools, museums and other suitable venues. First "Družina" workshop was organized at the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb, in 2000. Since then, workshops have become places of different, sometimes even international meetings, and also places suitable for getting to know various heritage. We offer decorated Easter eggs as a souvenir or a gift for the Easter period, but also we wish to bring to participants joy of spending time together and success of applying the technique. Since 2000 "Družina" has been annually organizing a music festival on liturgical singing focusing on three traditional ways of liturgical chants: folk hymns, Gregorian chant and polyphonic choral music. On more than one occasion, guests of the festival have been performers of the Croatian Glagolitic chant, which is also inscribed in the national Register as intangible heritage. We find pride in this heritage of ours which in 2003 we presented in Đakovo city through five programs in honour of Pope John Paul II who visited Croatia. We have also described the meaning of all the three ways of heritage singing and published a booklet with the contents of all those programs which also contains an image of a group from Lithuania presenting Gregorian chant of the school Aglonas bazilikas kora skola in 2002 in the place of Podravski Podgajci where the festival began twenty years ago. We document heritage by video and audio recordings during concerts or festivals. After noticing the disappearance of liturgical folk hymns, "Družina" also founded a female singing group in an Eastern Croatian village of Vođinci in 2008. The group is called Vođinačke počimajle and among its members are women who were lead singers (hence the name) in traditional liturgical a capella singing in their youth. We recorded three CDs with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture. In our view, spreading our story is important because we work on gathering of folklore groups, reminding them that their programs rely on heritage and tradition to a great extent, and also that the tradition itself is much deeper than what is presented on the scene. Moreover, contact with the groups creates possibility for field work, heritage research, and its conservation in doing that. We try to deepen our knowledge about heritage and attract new tradition lovers with the gained insights, educate new researchers and develop love for tradition as a source for identity among wide number of people. Heritage is not something static, it is dynamic, among other things, and set into motion by experts through educational workshops in collaboration with heritage keepers and through implementation of know-how during different types of meetings, as is visible in the work of "Družina" since its foundation. Sustainability of any cultural elements, as we have shown through the mentioned festivals, exhibitions, workshops, lectures and round tables, should always reflect the character of interpersonal relations, respecting other, getting to know others and spending time together. All of that has been accentuated through different representational, rather than competitive programs. Let us conclude that the messages of heritage today are the ones of memorial, tourist and educational values. By Manda Svirac, PhD and Marija Raguž, PhD

European Dimension

We work on gathering of folklore groups, reminding them that their programs rely on heritage and tradition to a great extent, and also that the tradition itself is much deeper than what is presented on the scene. Moreover, contact with the groups creates possibility for field work, heritage research, and its conservation in doing that. We try to deepen our knowledge about heritage and attract new tradition lovers with the gained insights, educate new researchers and develop love for tradition as a source for identity among wide number of people, including younger generations. Since the very beginning, "Družina" includes experts, cultural anthropologists and anthropology students, in various activities, and through its President, the association is also connected to theologians, religion related subjects and religiously inspired traditions present in Europe. The interaction of folklore groups and experts within and by "Družina" enables experts to do field research and to be active in safeguarding of heritage together with heritage keepers.

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