Ljubljana – It is remarkable that Prekmurje has preserved the Slovenian language and culture despite being cut off from Slovenian territory for a long time in the past, PM Janez Janša said in his message on Prekmurje Reunification Day, while Speaker Igor Zorčič said that on this day, Slovenians should celebrate being together.
In his message, Janša thanked the generations of Prekmurje people who “passed on the love for the nation and the beautiful Prekmurje dialect, which is their second mother tongue, from generation to generation”.
As Janša pointed out, today we may not fully grasp the importance of the decision of the Paris Peace Conference to return the territory of Prekmurje to the mother country.
“But we know that too much Slovenian land has been lost in the course of our history and that too many Slovenians have remained outside the borders of the motherland, who were not fortunate enough to live to see reunification,” he wrote.
The decision to declare 17 August as a national holiday is therefore, according to Janša, not only an expression of joy and gratitude for the reunification of Prekmurje, but also a thank you to all those who worked with their whole being to make this wish of the Prekmurje people a reality.
Janša added that Prekmurje is now an inseparable part of Slovenia. Thanks to its historical experience of belonging to different national communities, its geographical location and openness of communication, the region has a creative presence in music, painting, literature, dance, sport, economy and science.
Prekmurje has also developed a culture of cooperation and living in harmony with the Hungarian ethnic community, which is able to preserve and develop its identity in peace and freedom. But Prekmurje’s development opportunities are far from exhausted, the Prime Minister wrote.
In his message on the occasion of Prekmurje Reunification Day, parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič said that we should celebrate because we are together, adding that the people of Prekmurje rightly expect a boost to the regional economy, which will require a prudent, development-oriented and cohesive policy.
“In the past decades, Prekmurje has had to cope with the decline of major industries and the resulting unemployment and brain drain, but this too is changing: investments in new jobs, tourism and agriculture are bringing development potential back to Slovenia’s land of the rising sun.”
“The changed circumstances brought about by the pandemic have reinforced the realisation that living further away from the capital no longer means being marginalised and neglected, but that it offers an opportunity,” Zorčič wrote.
After speaking at the main ceremony on Monday, President Borut Pahor also hosted an open day in the Presidential Palace today He said that national holidays remind all citizens of landmark historical events that united the nation – spiritually, culturally and politically.
According to Pahor, it is crucial that a community sticks together at such decisive moments. He also stressed that the current situation requires patience, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect from all citizens.
Pahor added that only these values, which children also learn by example, will strengthen the Slovenian national community, adding that now is not the time for hostility and accusations.
Slovenia celebrates Prekmurje Reunification Day on 17 August in memory of 1919, when the country’s eastern-most region reunited with the rest of the nation after more than a millennium.
Prekmurje become part of the newly established Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in line with a decision of the post-WWI peace conference, as a rally brought together more than 20,000 people in the town of Beltinci to support the reunification.
The Prekmurje Reunification Day has been celebrated since 2006, although not as a work-free day. A national ceremony is organised every five years, whereas regional municipalities organise the celebrations in between.