Celebration of Candlemas – the Statehood Day

Thursday, 15.2.2018 | Culture and traditions

A central state ceremony to celebrate the Candlemas – the Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia was held today in the Memorial complex in Orašac.

Today, a central state ceremony to celebrate the Candlemas – the Statehood Day of Serbia was held today in the Memorial complex in Orašac, in the presence of the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and the Republic of Srpska Milorad Dodik, President of the Serbian National Council in Croatia Milorad Pupovac, Presidents of Government of the two states Ana Brnabić and Željka Cvijanović, ministers of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and representatives of local communities, priesthood and numerous citizens.
After memorial service led by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej for the fallen rebels, Presidents Vučić and Dodik laid wreaths at the monument to the Warlord Karađorđe.
According to the words of the President of the Republic, it was a great day, when they celebrated Serbia remembering the glorious ancestors and pay homage to those who had laid foundations of our modern statehood.
-  It is the day of universality, day when we and the citizens of Serbia meet both our ancestors and past, and ourselves, our present. It is the day when, holding to the true role models we plan our future and set the most important tasks for us – said President Vučić reminding that back in 1804, not far from the place where the Statehood Day was marked, the most prominent Serbs had gathered headed by Warlord Karađorđe and decided to raise an uprising against Ottoman rule.
Speaking about glorious Serbian history, President of the Republic of Serbia emphasised that the flame lit by Warlord Karađorđe and his rebels had been so great and mighty that it had lit the path not only to the Serbs but to the people around us. He also reminded of the words of Milovan Vitezović that “Karađorđe illuminated our freedom and Lord Miloš established the state” and that it was reason why we celebrated freedom and Serbian state on that day.
According to President Vučić, there is a long road and mountain ranges of conditions and obstacles in front of Serbia, but he said that “we-the descendants of those 300 who gathered here, […] are to repeat what Hannibal said as he headed for Rome – “we will either find the way, or make one”.
- This is Serbia – free and independent, Serbia of Black George and Lord Miloš, Serbia of Dimitrije Davidović, Serbia of princes and peasants, of Pupin and Tesla, Cvijić, Crnjanski and Andrić, Putnik and Mišić, of all those whose children we are who know what it is that we must do. Today we can do anything because they have taught us that […]. Everything that is in front of us we must resolve, and have our hands clean and honour intact – stated the President of the Republic of Serbia and added that we the descendants of the rebels can find solution to every problem.
He underlined that in the beginning of 19th century Serbia had been determined to live in a modern legally organised state and that it had transformed that wish into our first Constitution that had been passed on the same date in 1835 and which had placed Serbia among modern states and the second country in Europe that abolished the feudal system. In his speech Vučić pointed out that Serbia was heading to membership in the European Union, but it did not neglect its friendship with Russia, China and other countries of the world.
- Owing to the wise politics which we learned from Lord Miloš, our Serbia, day after day grows stronger in all fields. Every day, it gets more and more respected and esteemed, and its words are carefully listened to, evaluated and measured. Owing to the austerity measures, we have managed to recover the finances and raise economy. We are yet to see the true measure and scope of the results – he stated noting that all the citizens of Serbia deserve merit for these results. He underlined that as a President he had to point to serious problems, but the most important and most difficult problem, the mother of all problems was decrease in number of our population.
- The state must not get involved in decisions of every individual, because starting a family is a private decision, but as President I would state the numbers which are not good and which are worrisome. Some 70 years ago 163,297 children were born, and in 2017 almost 100,000 children less. If we did nothing in this are the situation would be even worse. Demography and birth rate are extremely important for the future or our country – Vučić said, adding that the difficult problem had to be resolved, because although the state develops day after day “it opens factories, creates jobs, builds sports halls, magnificent buildings, hospitals, but it is all in vain if there are no people, if in our heroic Šumadija there are less and less children whose crying and joy would bring happiness to masters of the house”.
Congratulating the holiday, the President of the Republic of Srpska underscored that there was no better place to mark the holiday than Orašac, which was the place that sublimated the historical aspiration of the Serbian people to freedom. He reminded that Serbs in their historical struggle for freedom did not have just one Karađorđe, but many known and unknown heroes.
- Today, when Serbia is returned to the Serbian people and when the Serbian people wherever it is, here or there, near of far, is gathered around national idea and the state of Serbia; the idea that is called freedom and our national identity, Serbs needed to overcome many of their historical delusions – Dodik said noting that one of those delusions was Yugoslavia, although by creating Yugoslavia, Serbs wanted to ensure freedom not only for themselves but for others as well.
Dodik said that Serbian people has its two states – the Republic of Serbian and the Republic of Srpska. He reminded of the words of President Vučić that there were no Croatian, Bosnian or some other Serbs, but there were only a unique Serbian people wherever they were and wherever they lived, with their tradition, Slava, language, script and tongue.
The President of Srpska stated that it was a special honour for him on that festive and significant day for Serbian people to send a message of reunion and unity of Serbian people, and of preserving our national identity, pride and historical success. He reminded that Serbian people suffered in the century behind us, and he expressed his desire that this century would be the century of Serbian freedom.
On behalf of the Government of Serbia, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Zoran Đorđević laid wreath and paid homage to Warlord Karađorđe in Saint George Church at his grave in Oplenac. Apart from him, the wreaths were laid by delegation of the Ministry of Defence and Serbian armed Forces led by Commander of the First Army Brigade Brigadier General Željko Petrović, representatives of Topola municipality and many other associations.
Candlemas is the state holiday which marks two important historical dates vital for cultural-historical and national identity of Serbs. Serbia observes Candlemas – the Statehood Day in memory of 15th February 1804, when at a gathering in Orašac Serbian rebels led by Đorđe Petrović Karađorđe decided to start the First Serbian Uprising. That event initiated the restoration of Serbian statehood after several centuries of Ottoman rule.
In following few years the rebels’ army, led by Karađorđe, in famous battles of Ivankovac, Deligrad, Mišar, in Belgrade and other places, defeated Ottoman forces and freed almost entire territory of the Belgrade pashalik. That started liberation struggle of Serbs against the Ottoman rule and the process of creation of their modern state.
Also, on the same date in 1835, in Kragujevac a Candlemas Constitution was passed, the first constitution of Serbia and one of the most democratic and most liberal constitutions of that time.

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