Žive naj vsi narodi
On that sunny winter’s day, many Slovenes from Porabje and Slovenia gathered in the theatre of Szentgotthárd in order to commemorate one of the leading figures in Slovene culture history: the great national poet France Prešeren.*
The significance of Prešeren for Slovene culture
Already at the very beginning
it became clear, how important Prešeren is for
Slovene history, since the event started with the most essential contribution
of Prešeren to Slovene community spirit: by
playing the Slovene national anthem. Part of the lyrics (the 7th verse) of
the national anthem contains excerpts from Prešeren’s
work "Zdravljica". When the first
bars of the Slovene national anthem resounded from the loudspeakers, those
present rose and some also sang out loud. Afterwards Jožef
Hirnök, the president of the Association of
the Hungarian Slovenes, and Marko Slotar, the
consul general of the
Book presentation by Ferenc Mukič
The second part of the event consisted of the presentation of the novel by the author Ferenc Mukič. His book entitled "Garabancijaš" plays at the border area of the Slovene Raba region in Hungary and former Yugoslav constituent republic of Slovenia in the 1940s and 50s and addresses the problem of the relations between Slovenes from the Raba region (Porabje) and Slovenes from the Mura region (Prekmurje) concerning the aspect of separation, which was caused by the Iron Curtain. Ferenc Mukič and Milan Vincetič, a colleague from Prekmurje, portrayed vividly the incidents of that time. The transition to the third and final act of the celebration consisted once more of a musical performance by a young harmonica player.
In the end, a five-member theatre group called "Nindrik-indrik" caused good humor among the large attendance. Neighborhood conflicts, how they could occur anywhere and anytime, were satirized. If and only if the situation was on the brink of escalation, a mediator appeared who managed to bring the wranglers to terms. Ultimately, the quarrel at the garden fence led to war. The antagonists, who were dressed in uniforms, fought each other with (plastic-) weapons. However, the play offered a peaceful ending, which left the audience in delight. And thus the two hour commemoration day in Prešeren’s honor was acknowledged with applause by a highly pleased audience.
France Prešeren was commemorated on the following Sunday, February 12.
Joël Gerber / Tibor Horváth
Origin and Professional Career
France Prešeren was born in Vrba, in the former dukedom of Krain on December 3, 1800.
descended from a rural family and was the third of eight children. He went to
elementary and high school in Ribnica and in
In 1832 Prešeren
Prešeren’s love life was characterized by negative experiences. His big love Julia Primitz (Julija Primic) did not respond to his love, even though a part of his issue of “Poezije’ contained her name in its acrostic*. In 1839 he got to know the worker Ana Jelovšek, whom he had three children with. However, she left him again later.
* The initial letters or words of poems or texts add up a meaning when being read successively.
On February 8, 1849 he died in Kranj, which was still called Krainburg at that time, of cirrhosis of the liver.
Prešeren is considered one of the greatest Slovene poets. Not only did he write Slovene literature but he is also known for his German works (poems and sonnets). He is famous for his love and nature lyric and his great historical epic "The Baptism on River Savica" (Krst pri Savici). In 1848 his opus magnum Poezije (Poetries) was published.
Today’s Slovene hymn still contains the 7th verse of the Zdravljica:
Žive naj vsi narodi
ki hrepene dočakat' dan,
da koder sonce hodi,
prepir iz sveta bo pregnan,
prost bo vsak,
ne vrag, le sosed bo mejak!
God's blessing on all nations,
Who long and work for that bright day,
When o'er earth's habitations
No war, no strife shall hold its sway;
Who long to see
That all men free
No more shall foes, but neighbours be.
Translation: Janko Lavrin
Boris Paternu: France Prešeren. Ein slowenischer Dichter 1800-1849, München 1994
Wilhelm Baum: France Prešeren, ein slowenischer Dichter in Österreich, in: Österreich
in Geschichte u. Literatur, 43, 1999,107-117
France Prešeren: Deutsche Dichtungen, hrsg. v. Wilhelm Baum, Kitab, Klagenfurt 1999
Pictures Joël Gerber / Tibor Horváth