Niko Hazdovac, his wife Lucija, and their family run the successful travel agency Adriatic Travel in San Pedro, California. They host a celebration (fešta) every year the night before Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Day of Croatian Defenders in his small hometown of Kozarica on Mljet for his friends and locals. The fešta took place again last Friday.
“Everyone had a great time with the songs of the Dubrovnik pop artist Ilko Đivanović. With local food, Mljet wine, and good music, we danced until late into the night, and celebrated Oljua with fireworks,” said Ane Mljeċka, a well-known Croatian emigrant who was born on Mljet and now lives in the USA.
Every year the fešta organized by the American emigrants has a humanitarian aspect, and this year, donations were collected for the restoration of the church in Kozarica.
Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Day of Croatian Defenders commemorates the military victory on August 5, 1995, known as Operation Storm (Oluja), when the Croatian army took over nearly one-third of the Croatian territory occupied by the Serbian paramilitary forces and Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). In only 84 hours of the military-police operation Oluja, in which almost 200 thousand Croatian soldiers participated and where over 10,000 square kilometers of the occupied territory was freed, the Croatian army restored sovereignty over occupied central and southern parts of the country, paving the way for the peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia in January 1998.
What a night!
Photos credit: Ane Stražičić Rodriguez
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