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November 29th Yugoslavia Day of the Republic

November 29th Yugoslavia Day of the Republic

On this day in 1943 the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (Antifašističko vijeće narodnog oslobođenja Jugoslavije, AVNOJ) at its second session in Jajce declared that Yugoslavia would be “built on a democratic, federal principle” as “a community of equal nations/peoples [narod] who freely expressed their wish to live in Yugoslavia,” called Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, comprising 6 equal republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia). Leader of the Partisan resistance, Tito was named the head of the provisional government and also elevated to the rank of Marshal on that day.


Two years later, on 29 November 1945, at AVNOJ’s next biennial session, King Petar II transferred power to Tito as the new country’s prime minister. The country thus ceased to be a monarchy and became a republic, now renamed to Federal National (People’s) Republic of Yugoslavia. The second Yugoslavia was thus born.


Throughout its subsequent history, Yugoslavia marked the anniversary as the Republic Day (Dan Republike), commemorating the 1943 event. Republic Day honored “the achievements of the partisans’ fight and glorified the basic principle of Yugoslavia’s economic and political system.”  The date featured on the country’s coat of arms.


Republic Day was a major holiday in Yugoslavia:

Citizens enjoyed two days off work, taking trips for extended weekends or to visit family and organizing parties. People made plans ahead and the question “What are you doing for 29 November?” was more important than “What are you doing for New Year’s?” [Tanjug/Mondo] Visits to relatives included preparation of foods for the winter and a feast.


First-graders took the oath as Pioneers, “inheritors of the historic decisions made on that date in 1943 and the guarantors of their continued meaning as foundational principles of the state” in order to promote “continuity between generations” and to connect “connected children to the memory of the Partisan struggle and the creation of the state itself.” [Balkanist]. They received a blue cap (“titovka”), a red scarf, and a red Pioneer booklet. Other events were held at schools, including assemblies, academies, readings and recitals (about Tito), and performances.


Ceremonial academies, medal award ceremonies (to individuals and collectives for their achievements), meetings of youth, honorary cannon (?) salvos, and other commemorative events were held across the country, particularly in republican capitals.


Newspapers ran not just articles but big features on medal recipients, especially the AVNOJ award given for the contribution to the development of society, and advertisements. Visuals representations leaned toward factories, products, and chosen people, rather than geographical locations, architecture, or maps.



It was a very popular date for weddings, allowing for a double celebration (and drinking). The date had to be booked months in advance.



TV channels showed marathons of old films about Partisans and cartoons for kids.