Croatia once again celebrates Statehood Day on May 30 for the first time in almost two decades.
This year Statehood Day is celebrated on the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of the first multi-party parliament on 30 May 1990, when the foundations of the modern Croatian Parliament were laid and its historic role in preserving Croatian statehood was confirmed after decades of communist rule.
Until last year, May 30 was observed as the Day of the Croatian Parliament, a memorial day and a working day, while Statehood Day was celebrated on June 25 as a public holiday and non-working day.
Since 2001, when the SDP-led coalition government changed the public holiday calendar, all governments endeavored to appropriately observe the new dates, however, ordinary citizens never embraced the new holidays in the same way Statehood Day was celebrated on May 30 during the 1990s.
That was one of the arguments for the HDZ majority to reinstate May 30 as Statehood Day when it arranged the new public holiday calendar last year.
The controversy regarding the 'real' date for celebrating Statehood Day will certainly last, however, it is indisputable that a large number of citizens remember 30 May 1990 very fondly, describing it with words such as 'special', 'festive', and 'exciting'.
On that day, Franjo Tudjman was elected Chairman of the Socialist Republic of Croatia's Presidency. On that occasion, he gave a speech, emphasising that throughout its long history, "the Croatian state parliament was the guardian of the sovereignty of the Croatian people in relation to other national and state unions."
Tudjman said that he had had no doubt that the Croatian people would show their maturity at the first democratic election, "in which the parliament originated", expressing his conviction that "under the guidance of their true leadership, the people will know and be able to build a life worthy of free people in their only, long-suffering and holy homeland".
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