On August 5, Croatia observes Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, a significant state holiday that holds great historical importance for the country. This day marks the liberation of Knin in 1995, a pivotal moment in Croatian history. It is also referred to as 'Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti i dan hrvatskih branitelja' in the Croatian language. It is a day of remembrance and gratitude for the sacrifices made by Croatian soldiers who fought bravely to defend their homeland and all those who contributed to the country's independence and sovereignty. This annual commemoration serves as a reminder of the resilience and strength of the Croatian people and their enduring spirit of unity and patriotism.
History of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day
In the annals of Croatia's history, August 5, 1995, stands out as a pivotal date. It was the day when the Croatian Army, as part of Operation Storm, captured Knin from Serbian forces. This marked the end of the Republic of Serbian Krajina's existence as a Serb territory in Croatia and was a major turning point in the War of Independence. The conflict had been raging for several years, with the Serbs seeking to establish dominance over Croatia. However, with the capture of Knin, the tide turned in favour of the Croatian forces.
The War of Independence finally concluded on November 12, 1995, when the Croatian and local Serb authorities of the Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Syrmia region signed the Erdut agreement. This agreement ensured that the region would be peacefully reintegrated into Croatia, marking the end of one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern European history. The Erdut agreement was seen as a major step towards reconciliation and a new beginning for the people of Croatia, who had endured years of violence and turmoil.
How do you celebrate Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day?
The city of Knin commemorates the lives lost during conflicts through various solemn events held at the medieval fortress. These events include a touching mass, a reverent wreath-laying ceremony, a dignified parade, and a ceremonial flag-hoisting. The city's commitment to honouring and remembering those who sacrificed for their country is commendable.
This day has been a public holiday in Croatia since 2002. In 2008, the Parliament assigned the name 'Day of the Croatian Defenders' to the holiday.