The two-hour festival, which Bunjevci Croats call Dužijanca, began with Mass and ended with a procession whose participants wore Croatian folk costumes and by giving bread to Novi Sad Deputy Mayor Milan Đurić.
He was thankful for the honour and said the city supported holding the festival in the spirit of good cooperation with the Croatian National Council. Special attention was paid to it as it was held in the year when Novi Sad holds the title of a European Capital of Culture, he added.
UBH director Marinko Piuković said he was glad the association had the opportunity to show without problems the customs the Croatian community in Vojvodina has been cultivating for over 100 years.
He said that two years ago the thanksgiving was held in Zagreb, last year in Hungary, while next year it will be held in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Among those in attendance was Croatian MP Goran Ivanović, who said he hoped the cooperation between minority communities with the majority would be raised to a higher level, specifically by ensuring guaranteed seats in Serbia’s representative bodies at all government levels.
Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina deputy president Goran Kaurić said it was important the Croatian minority’s culture could be shown in Novi Sad as it could help ease the renewed tensions in Croatia-Serbia relations.
The festival is co-financed by the Croatian State Office for Croats Outside Croatia, which was represented in Novi Sad by Croatian Ambassador to Serbia Hidajet Biščević.
Bunjevci Croats in northern Bačka celebrate Dužijanca from April to mid-August, when the central event is held in Subotica.