23 February 2019 – A proposal has been submitted to the Croatian government’s e-savjetovanje platform to officially declare the 22nd of August as ‘Croatians Outside the Republic of Croatia Day’.
The proposal has been submitted for comments and suggestions via the electronic platform before a final decision is made on the proposal by the Croatian parliament.
Just as the Irish get together and celebrate their culture around the world on St. Patrick’s Day, Croatians day abroad could soon be 22 August, the same day which the ‘Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of the Croatian people’ (Blažene Djevice Marije Kraljice Hrvata) is celebrated.
The date proposed, however, is not set in stone and that is part of the reason the proposal has been submitted for suggestions and comments.
“We want to hear suggestions, because there are always for and against, but nothing is final yet. There are a lot of Croatians outside Croatia and it is difficult to decide on a date which suits everybody. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by the Irish everywhere around the world, wherever they are on that day, and a lot of them go back to the homeland for that day,” the office for Croats Abroad told Jutarnji list.
According to the proposal, the ‘Croatians outside the Republic of Croatia Day’ is a day that will connect Croatians outside Croatia with their Croatian identity, roots and rich Croatian history, and to acknowledge the achievements and contributions of Croatians outside Croatia in achieving independence and assistance in the most difficult times.
The proposal is open for comments and suggestions until 7 March 2019 before the final report is published one month after.
Based on estimates from Croatian diplomatic and catholic missions, and Croatian organisations around the world, there are over 3 million Croatian emigrants and their descendants living outside of Croatia. The most are in the United States where there are more than 1.2 million, followed by Germany.
In Argentina, there are around 250,000 citizens with Croatian heritage, with 80% of the Croatian immigrants arriving from Dalmatia at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th Century. In Canada, it is estimated that around 200,000 Croatians and their descendants live. Most are located around Toronto, Mississauga, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary.
Between 150,000 and 200,000 are estimated to be living in Australia, with the largest communities in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane.
In the second half of the 19th century a wave of Croats from Dalmatia, mainly from the Makarska Riviera, Brač, Hvar, Korčula and Pelješac area arrived in New Zealand. The biggest community is found in Auckland, with smaller groups living in the Kaitaia, Hamilton, Whangarei and Wellington area. Between 30,000 and 70,000 people with Croatian heritage are estimated to be living in New Zealand.
The most recent wave of emigrant has seen large numbers move to Ireland.
The proposal for the day came from the Council of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for Croats Abroad.