A Relay of Youth of the 21st Century. A Re-enactment of Ritual or a Grotesque Performance?

Waldemar Kuligowski


In this paper I would like to present some kind of political ritual. I focused on public holiday in former Yugoslavia called “Day of Youth” (Dan Mladosti), namely the federal festival of the youth. The holiday was one of the largest and most important performative practices related to the ideology of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. “Day of Youth” was a specific form of a state-licensed political ritual and become a key element in the symbolic expression of the “new”, post-war and socialist Yugoslavia. Officially established in 1957,
the holiday survived the death of Marshal Josip Broz Tito (then officially dubbed “Tito’s Holiday without Tito”) and had its last edition in 1987. What might be surprising in this context, therefore, is the restitution of this holiday in the early 21st century. 20 years after the last official celebration of this holiday, people who wanted to reactivate it emerged in public spaces. An article not only discusses some dimensions of Youth Day and especially Youth Relay, but
also provides few examples of its new functioning. An attempt at comprehensive interpretation of this phenomenon will be based on the use of the concept of political ritual and in context of “performative turn”.

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