Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Croatian Inspired Advent in Boston: Croatian Traditions Cross the Atlantic

December the 11th, 2018 - The United States might be very far from Croatia, both in terms of geography and in terms of many customs, but how do we bridge the gap? A quick look at how the diaspora keep their ancestral home close to their hearts during the festive season with a Croatian inspired advent in Boston, USA.

Santa (Djed Mraz) gives out early gift bags filled with Croatian candy

Over 100 members of the New England Friends of Croatia (NEFC), a non-profit organization in the Boston area which fosters the preservation of Croatian culture in New England, has gathered to celebrate Advent (Dočašće) as well as to welcome winter.

This year, there were a few new members, some of whom arrived to the party from as far as north as Concord, NH. The guests were welcomed by the members of the board and they discussed the organizations' plans for the next year. In addition, both the menu and the music were ''Croatia inspired'', which made sure that everyone felt like they were celebrating with their families in Croatia. 

NEFC Board Members discussing next year's plans - from left: Dado Grabovac, Irena matulic, Dragomir Ralic, Bozo Polic, Irena Rasin, Biserka Ralic, Jelena Mustra and Mirena Bagur

The friends of Croatia were hosted by the Sabur Restaurant, known in the Boston area for its Mediterranean cuisine. As usual, the chef ensured that the menu included traditional Croatian Christmas dinner items such as roast turkey and pork, with mashed potatoes and "kiseli kupus". But, the most celebrated were in fact the desserts - from fritule, orehnjača and čupavci to snowflake sugar cookies, all brought in from the home ovens of the Croatian ladies. 

 Croatian-American students, Shanaelle Petty and Sarah Reilly, are first in line for the traditional Croatian cookies

Djed Mraz told the children he arrived early because of the cookies! He sang with the kids and gave them all small presents reminding them of their ancestral homeland.

Djed Mraz and Jolanda Keyneres-Pavlinic and Ariana Zelic, who have been instrumental in keeping the community together

All in all - this was a humble and warm celebration of Christmas and the festive season with great reminders of Croatian traditions and further inspiration for future accomplishments in connecting the United States of America with the Republic of Croatia.

Enjoying the seasonal festivities

Make sure to follow our diaspora page for more in the Croatian diaspora in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and much closer to home in Europe.

Text and images by Mirena Bagur, President of the New England Friends of Croatia

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Croatian Emigrant at Pearl Harbour: How Petar Tomić Became American Hero

Ever heard of the Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour? His bravery not only saved many from certain death, but saw him sacrifice his own life during the infamous Japanese attack.

As Morski writes on the 8th of December, 2018, Petar Herceg Tomić was a Croat born in Prolog, a village in the Municipality of Ljubuški, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1893. He became an American hero in World War II for his heroism and sacrifice during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December the 7th, 1941, in which he lost his life. He was posthumously awarded the medal of honour, the highest American medal symbolising great courage, according to Novi list.

Just how did this boy from quiet, rural Ljubuški become a Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour?

Among the first victims of the sudden Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December the 7th, 1941, which began the brutal Second World War on the Pacific, was the American Utah battleship. Hit with two torpedoes, the vessel began to turn over, and only the sheer courage and devotion of Officer Petar Tomić prevented more casualties. Paying the price of his own life, Petar Herceg Tomić saved the rest of the crew from certain death.

Tomić mainaged to maintain the part of the vessel hit by the two torpedoes until most of the crew left it. All this was done under merciless Japanese aircraft. As the ship began to fail, Tomić encouraged the crew to escape. During that terrifying time, he controlled the pressure so as to avoid a devastating explosion, as in such a case, even those who were rescued would also have been killed. Despite his brave efforts, Tomić and another 58 crew members, remained forever captured in the vessel.

In the official explanation of the recognition of his bravery and priceless sacrifice, it states that Tomić, upon realising that the Utah battleship was definitely doomed, remained in his position in the engine room until he was convinced that the boilers were secured and all the staff had departed from the doomed ship's engine room. By sacrificing his own life, he saved the lives of his crew, writes the Virtual Museum of the Emigration of Dalmatia (Virtualni muzej iseljeništva Dalmacije).

Tomić was born, as stated, in Prolog, a small village which consisted of just 120 houses, in 1893. His real name was Petar Herceg, and his family nickname was Tonić, which he later transformed into his last name, Tomić. He arrived in America in 1913 and joined the army. After the First World War, he joined the Navy, where he became the chief engineer on the Utah battleship. This fateful move was how he found himself in Pearl Harbour when a sudden attack by Japanese forces on the US Navy's main base in the Pacific led the US to enter the Second World War on the side of the Allies.

The remains of the Utah battleship still lie in Pearl Harbour, and along with it lies a memorial and a plaque honouring the Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour's heroic deed. The plaque was initially placed there to mark the 30th anniversary of the attack.

One year after Tomić's death, in December 1942, an escort destroyer named U.S. Tomić was built at the Brown Shipbuilding Shipyard in Houston. For thirty years, the vessel served in the American Navy, before being removed from the register, and eventually ending its military ''career'' in 1974. President Franklin D. Roosevelt posthumously awarded Tomić the Medal of Honour.

No matter the incredible turn of events the life of this Croatian emigrant took, nothing was so incredible as the search for his living descendants, to whom the medal was handed. After nearly a decade of searching, and even judicial proceedings, Robert Lunney eventually found Tomić's descendants, still living in Prolog, Herzegovina. After six and a half decades, the prestigious American medal of honour was awarded to Petar Herceg Tomić's living family back in 2006 on the deck of the largest carrier of the US Navy Enterprise aircraft, which was inaugurated near Split.

Croatian Television (Hrvatska televizija) produced a documentary film entitled "Heroes are not forgotten" which detailed this Croatian emigrant at Pearl Harbour's unusual life and heroic sacrifice on that fateful day. Made by Ištvan Filaković, its screenwriters are Vladimir Brnardić and Nenad Bach.
Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and diaspora pages for much more.
Click here for the original article by Novi list
Sunday, 25 November 2018

Swiss Stage for Croatian Diaspora Performers in 2019

25th of November 2018 - That music is deeply rooted in the Croatian genes is a simple fact. Just look around a little bit, if you have never given it a thought, and you will realise that almost every village has its own dance and its own song. At least one, that is. This extends far from the country's borders and into the Croatian diaspora, and next year they'll have no less than a Swiss stage.

If you look alongside the coast, you can hardly find a hamlet without a ''klapa''.

And then all those festivals of all sorts (of music), everywhere. Folk, pop, jazz, new music, classical, experimental, you name it. However tiny, Croatia has given a noticeable contribution to the music of the world. Archives and museums can show you how music has been important over here since centuries. As an example, in the Museum of the Pharmacy in Dubrovnik, you can see a sheet of music from the early 12th century.

In the vicinity, just down the main street, you could find how Luka Sorkocevic, a local composer, wrote symphonies, a brand new music form, at the same time Haydn and Mozart were introducing it in Vienna.

Yes, we love music, and we love to sing. Don’t you?

There is quite a number of festivals of light music in the country, but there is someone who is not satisfied with the chances they offer to the Croats living abroad. His name is Zoran Škugor, and he has decided to organise a festival for all the Croatian diaspora on a Swiss stage, more specifically in Zurich.

Zoran is an ''old-timer'' in the field. He has been in the business for almost 50 years, has managed a long list of musicians and his musical productions are quite uncountable. You know, the festivals at home are hardly penetrable to a (Croatian) musician living abroad. Each festival has its own circles, quite locally oriented, somebody from abroad would have to jump over many obstacles in order to be recognised and valued as ''worthy''.

Zoran Skugor

''Knowing thousands of our people from diaspora, and having been asked by quite some talented Croats about how and why it is impossible for them to appear over here, I decided to organise a festival for all the Croats regardless of their residence, from Australia and both Americas to Europe. I joined hands with the Capo Music Production (CMP), established purposely and our first Music Festival of the Croatian Diaspora will take place in Zurich in February, 2019!'' says Zoran.

So good! Now what are the prerogatives to participate?

Any musician can apply by simply sending his new, still unpublished work to one of the two e-mail addresses: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The composition should be between 3 to 3,5 minutes long, and it should be submitted to us not later than the 15th of December this year. A professional jury will make a final selection and there we go. The Festival is going to have its awards and a Grand Prix, and all compositions will be released on a festival CD.

Any particular limitations in genres?

We will start with light, pop rock, tamburitza and klapa (vocal, a cappella). We think that those four genres represent the most popular kinds of music among the Croats all over the world, and, not less, our musical roots will be there as well. We do hope that the festival will become traditional and that by further promotion of the artists participating it will contribute to the Croatian name around the world and a welcome refreshment and joy of music and being together to the Croats around the globe.

With precise dates of the Festival to be announced soon, if you are a Croat anywhere in the world and write music, or know someone who does and want to make a career out of it, pass this on and do not miss this very special opportunity yourself! Even as a member of the audience as you will have your say as a part of the jury of onlookers of those on the Swiss stage. Get ready and sing along!

Make sure to keep up with more information like this by following our dedicated Croatian Diaspora page.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Croatian Emigrants Sent 1 Billion Euros to Families in Croatia in 2017

Croatian emigrants dotted all around the world sent a huge amount of money via private transfers to their families in Croatia last year.

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 16th of November, 2018, one of the consequences of Croatia's ever-concerning demographic crisis caused by the mass emigration from the country is the growth of cash inflows through private transfers, which mostly relate to the cash flows that Croatian emigrants send back to their country of origin.

With some of this vast amount of money arriving from other European Union countries, as well as from outside the bloc, more than one billion euros have found their way from the rest of the world to various households across the Republic of Croatia in 2017, which, according to Eurostat's figures, stands at 627 million euros more than was recorded the year before.

As cash flow from other countries (by more than half from countries outside the European Union, mostly from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina) has also increased, a handsome increase of more than half a billion euros; from +245 to +823 million euros, has been recorded.

The largest surplus in personal transfers to the European Union has been recorded by just four member states, but most of them are larger countries, like Portugal (+3 billion euros), and Poland (+2.8 billion euros), followed then by Romania (+2.6 billion) and Bulgaria (+1.1 billion euros). When compared to 2016, Croatia overtook both Hungary and Lithuania last year in terms of cash inflow from abroad.

Otherwise, EU residents sent an enormous 32.7 billion euros back to their respective countries of origin last year, which is, as previously stated, nearly one billion euros more than was recorded as having been sent back in 2016, along with that figure, 4.3 billion euros (13 percent of total outflow) was sent outside the European Union. At the same time, inflows into the European Union from the rest of the world reached the huge amount of 10.7 billion euros.

Follow our lifestyle page for more.

 

Click here for the original article by Jadranka Dozan for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 26 October 2018

Oxford Educated Returnee Owns Tourist Agency, Runs 3 Hotels in Croatia

''Changes in any system can't take place overnight and it takes a lot of patience and work to make the results visible'', states Matea Jerić, now running three hotels in Croatia.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

NFCA 25th Anniversary Celebration in  New York City on September 22-23

An important event for Croatian Americans.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Plenković to Meet with German Chancellor Merkel and Diaspora in Berlin

This will be Plenković’s second visit to Berlin.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

We Should All Move House!

What is worse, an uneducated hater or a stupid hater? I vote for the second one, as you can teach the uneducated, but there's no cure for stupidity.

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