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Echoes of the Slavic myth in intangible culture of Međimurje


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Bajuk, Lidija. (2018). Echoes of the Slavic myth in intangible culture of Međimurje. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Croatian Language and Literature.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij hrvatske kulture) [mentor Botica, Stipe and Zebec, Tvrtko].

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From renaissance to the present, the pre-Christian Croatia has been a subject of studies thanks to linguists and experts in Indo-European languages. In their research of Indo-European and Slavic cultures, Radoslav Katičić and Vitomir Belaj, contemporary Croatian scholars, found evidence of elements of the early Slavic pre-Christian beliefs and practices in the Croatian intangible culture. Their reconstructions of Slavic myths inspired a number of scientific studies of other Croatian scholars. Those studies provide evidence of verse fragments of the ritualistic texts of the pre-Christian Slavic culture originating from the Slavic narratives and extra-liturgical ritualistic and customary practices. Supplanted by Christian legends and historic events, in the process of the Slavic sacralisation of sovereign territories, they comprise an idiographic account of the Indo-European mythical origin. However, a whole sacred text of the pre-Christian Croats and other Slavic ethnicities is not preserved. In diachronically and synchronically changeable sociopolitical and socioeconomic circumstances, the usual structural models and elements of earlier traditional songs have been reinterpreted and contextualized only superficially. For centuries, they had been transmitted orally from generation to generation, and from the 19th century, this transmission more often included written conveyances. Content-wise, and where form and semantics are concerned, they had been a subject of dismissals, interference, adaptations, modifications and they influenced personal and collective reception. Where the intangible cultural heritage of Međimurje related to the folklore and ethnomusicology is concerned, researchers have found thousands of traditional songs – a number of early prosodies, wedding, work and children’s songs, as well as songs with unknown history, place of origin or a type of conveyance that are believed to be created earlier than other songs. Songs from Međimurje and data related to them also include written evidence that has so far been only partially scientifically analysed. Songs from Međimurje are closely historically and culturally related to songs from the region of Slovenia located along the Mura River, as well as to those originating from the Hungarian region along the Mura River. The proven autochthonous presence of the Croatian ethnicity after their historic migration to settle in their new homeland (e.g. present-day parts of the Serbian part of Srijem; the Serbian and Hungarian part of Bačka; Boka Kotorska in Montenegro; coast and Trieste in Italia; coast, Bela krajina and Prekmurje in Slovenia, Pomurje in Hungary), has focused efforts of researchers to the ethnographic heritage, as well as to the heritage of the Croatian diaspora permanently settled in Gradišće, Italy and Romania, and to a large number of serbianized Croatian songs collected by the Serbian folklorist Vuk Karadžić in his field research and included in his books. For centuries, under the auspices of the rural communal families, the original form of the famous kotoripsko kolo and krogljanska kola (a traditional circle dancees accompanied by the singing) from Međimurje, as well as the wedding dance svatofski pl(j)esi had been orally transmitted from generation to generation. Until the 20th century, these circle dances were regularly danced on particular occasions, in particular locations, on a particular time of a day and during a particular part of a year. Afterwards, under the influence of urbanization, folklorization and globalisation, their limited variations were performed on rare occasions. Based on a comparison between the reconstructed elements of myths related to the early Slavic belief system and the functional, content-related, form-fitting, thematic, motivational, semantic, linguistically-stylistic and melo-rhytmic note values of songs of these circle and other forms of dances, the goal of this paper is to demonstrate that, although modified under the afore mentioned influences, they can be compared with other ritualistic and customary Međimurje and Slavic annual and life practices, narratives and semantic and linguistic forms. In spite of the historically changeable categories of time and space, those are the intangible evidence that corresponds to the tangible evidence related to the pre-Christian religious imagery of the Croatian paganism, as well as to the Christian imagery after the Christianisation. By using the ritualistic imitation of the mythical macro-cosmos to interpret the meaning of life, the meaning of the world and the meaning of existence for the sake of a personal and collective advancement, and transmitting its empirically founded and structured imagery into the real world of the micro-cosmos, Croats have preserved this evidence thanks to their national culture, reinterpretation and mechanisms of memorising and conveying. The body of evidence related to an earlier dancing tradition of Međimurje also suggests a need for its comparison with cultural elements of the pre-Slavic and Slavic communities founded in their original homeland and during the great migration before and after settling in Međimurje. Thanks to complex neurological, psychological and cognitive individual processes, as well as cohesive social processes under the umbrella of the community, structures of New Year’s and wedding ceremony practices, as well as traditional games, were the most persistent in resisting modification and change. In the process of a gradual alienation from the original sacral performance elements, contexts and meanings, early ritualistic versified units, partially modified or forgotten, have acquired profane characteristics. Contemporary folkloristic studies of these traditions are mostly focused on their contemporary formal characteristics, contexts and performances. Historically influenced by the Slavic ritualistic texts, the Christian reinterpretation and Medieval political, economic and religious affairs, songs from Međimurje sung in circle dances, in their visual, semantic, dance-kinetic, poetic, textual and/or melorhytmic patterns, as well as the most complete series of Croatian kolenda preserved in Croatian Dubrovnik hinteland and Romanian Rekaš area (Recaş), and of the Eastern Slavonian kraljička pisma, are also comparable with historical Leliwa coat of arms and with kolomyjka – a wedding combination of verses and dancing from the Carpathian area in the West Ukraine, and with orally conveyed literary and linguistic forms originating from Bijela Hrvatska (White Croatia). Since farmers from feudal estates owned by the Croatian noble family Zrinski were recruited in the historical anti-Ottoman Croatian army stationed in Međimurje, and since Slavic dukes and Croatian and Bosnian governors ruled the medieval Zachlumia before it joined the Dubrovnik Republic, historiographical, linguistic, archaeological and genetic evidence should be supplemented along with the comparative ethno(music)al, folkloristic and textual contributions from these areas, especially from a Bosnian Franciscan province Srebrena. After several years of an individual field and archival research, cultural (ethnological, folkloristic, textual, linguistic, spectroethnologic, astro-ethnologic) enquiry, interdisciplinary (cultural-geography, cultural-history, cultural-anthropology and interpretation) analysis, carefully chosen methodical apparatus (analysis, comparison, diachronic-synchronic elaboration, contextualization) and interpretation, this paper is an endeavour to establish a relation between certain Slavic cultural elements – those originating from Međimurje and those that do not originate from this region within the context of the Slavic belief system in the historic as well as contemporary territory of Croatia, and to contribute to a better understanding of the Croatian traditional culture in general.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: pre-Christianity, pra-Slaves, Slavic myth, White Croatia, Slavic customs, Croatian oral conveyance, Croatian dance tradition, intangible culture of Međimurje, cultural patterns, cognitive-linguistic concepts
Subjects: Ethnology and cultural anthropology
Slavic languages and literatures > Croatian language and literature
Departments: Department of Croatian Language and Literature
Supervisor: Botica, Stipe and Zebec, Tvrtko
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij hrvatske kulture
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2018 08:14
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2018 08:14

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