by Maya Juka
When Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati – Clifton Hill re-formed in 2013, “Na mladima svijet ostaje” was found handwritten on previous committee papers from years gone by, and it has become our unofficial slogan since then.
Our group places a strong focus on its youngest members so that our second and third generation Croatians can establish a sense of belonging within our community. Within these folkloric communities, relationships are nurtured and lifelong friendships are formed, and these are the friendships that will hopefully form the foundations of our community in the generations to come.
This year, Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati hosted the Victorian Children’s Folkloric Festival, an annual event that sees all four Croatian folkloric groups across Victoria, Australia come together to perform and share in their culture. Through this event, our children begin to understand that they are part of a much larger community and that there are many other children out there like themselves that participate in traditional Croatian folkloric dance.
The children’s festival is always a fun-filled event, however this year’s evening held special significance as it coincided with the 30th anniversary of Miroslav Škoro’s song “Ne dirajte mi ravnicu”. This song is being celebrated by Croatian communities all over the world, and Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati took the opportunity to celebrate it with their children and guests. We were able to pay tribute to this iconic song with the assistance of the incredibly talented HKUD Lado Geelong tamburica orchestra, who led the song alongside vocalist Kata Jurjevic.
It was beautiful to see children from Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati, HKUD Lado Geelong, HFA Zvonimir and FA Hrvatska Zora taking part in this tribute, and we are told that since this evening, by request, “Ne dirajte mi ravnicu” has now been added to the children’s home playlist. With one heartfelt tribute, this song has now travelled down to and is cherished by a whole new generation.
Many of the children from Folklorna Grupa Mladi Hrvati have an added sense of excitement about all things Croatian due to the group’s upcoming folkloric tour of Croatia. For the first time in 40 years, Mladi Hrvati will be taking its members on a performing tour of Croatia. The tour, titled “Vraćaju se kući laste’ commences on the 3rd of July, and will last for ten days.
Our itinerary will see the children take part in the popular folkloric festival, Đakovački Vezovi and includes a performance in Zadar’s Narodni Trg. They will also be provided with opportunities to experience and learn about our homeland and its history through visits to the Vukovar memorial site; traditional homesteads where they can experience early Croatian lifestyle and customs in a re-created setting; cultural workshops and iconic Croatian landmarks.
We strongly believe that this tour will not only provide our children with fantastic performance opportunities, but also a first-hand learning experience of our language, traditions and cultural customs. This would be the first visit to Croatia for many of the children, and we are certain that it will inspire a deeper love and appreciation for their culture.