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Nation and Memory in Eastern Europe Lecture 10 National Celebrations Week 2, Spring Term Outline Celebrating the nation 2. Russia 3. Ukraine 4. Poland 5 . National holidays today 6. Conclusion Celebrations Concretion of historical developments Reflection of social relations

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Nation and Memory in Eastern Europe

Lecture 10

National Celebrations

Week 2, Spring Term


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  • Outline

  • Celebrating the nation

  • 2. Russia

  • 3. Ukraine

  • 4. Poland

  • 5. National holidays today

  • 6. Conclusion


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Celebrations

  • Concretion of historical developments

  • Reflection of social relations

  • Ritual, narrative, repetition

  • Unifying, including and excluding


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National celebrations

  • Type of political celebrations

  • Since the French Revolution common all over Europe

  • In France they replaced monarchic-dynastic celebrations and, for a few years, also religious celebrations


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National Celebrations II

  • National celebrations often had a middle class background

  • In 19th c. Europe they competed with monarchic and dynastic celebrations (often birthdays of the prince/king/emperor and members of his family)

  • Can be affirmative or oppositionist (for example in Germany in the first half of the 19th c. liberal, national movement against existing order)

  • Can stabilise or destabilise the political system

  • Combination of national and dynastic celebrations possible (Germany after 1871 and partially Russia before the 1st World War)

  • Role in political education

    all members of the nation should celebrate; during the celebration class, gender and competing affiliations should not matter; in this respect: celebration is a staging of the nation, of national unity and shows how the nation should be


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  • Outline

  • Celebrating the nation

  • 2. Russia

  • 3. Ukraine

  • 4. Poland

  • 5. National holidays today

  • 6. Conclusion


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Autocracy and Church

Every year

  • Birthday of Emperor and family members

  • Anniversaries of ascension to the throne

  • Orthodox holidays

  • Days of national saints (for example Alexander Nevsky)

    Singular events

  • 200th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava (1909)

  • 100th anniversary of the Patriotic War (1912)

  • 300 years Romanov Dynasty (1913)


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Revolution and War

  • The anniversaries of the October Revolution: 7th,8th,9th November

  • Days of the Red Army, the Red Navy, the Air Force, of different mass organisations

  • 1st May: The day of the international workers’ movement

  • 8th March: International Women’s Day

  • Death of Lenin

  • After 1945: 9th May, Victory Day

  • Anniversaries of major battles of the Second World War


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  • Outline

  • Celebrating the nation

  • 2. Russia

  • 3. Ukraine

  • 4. Poland

  • 5. National holidays today

  • 6. Conclusion


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Poets and the State

  • Celebration of anniversaries of famous Ukrainian poets

  • Shevchenko celebrations

  • Anniversaries of Ukrainian organisations

  • After 1917: Soviet celebrations

  • Act of Pereyaslavl 1654, “unification” of Russia and Ukraine – big celebrations in 1954

  • Anniversaries of Ukrainian heroes


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  • Outline

  • Celebrating the nation

  • 2. Russia

  • 3. Ukraine

  • 4. Poland

  • 5. National holidays today

  • 6. Conclusion


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Victories and Defeats, Constitution and Independence

  • Anniversaries of important events of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Polish-Lithuanian Union 1569, Battle of Grunwald 1410, etc.

  • Anniversaries of uprisings

  • Religious holidays, especially November 1 and 2

  • Funerals and anniversaries of poets

  • Day of the Constitution of May 3, 1791

  • Independence Day: November 11, 1918

  • Anniversaries of the nation building wars of 1918-1920, of the Polish-Soviet War 1920

  • Anniversaries of the Warsaw Uprising 1944 (opposition), of Victory Day (May 8, 1945), the German attack on Poland and other important events of the Second World War



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Case Study

Grunwald celebrations 1910 in Cracow


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Functions of the celebrations of Grunwald

1. Creation of tradition

2. Creation of community

3. Creation of religious feeling

4. Creation of identity and representation of the enemy



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Unveiling of the Grunwald monument in Cracow Niepolomice, 1910

July 15, 1910


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Grunwald monument Niepolomice, 1910


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Detail Niepolomice, 1910


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Rota Niepolomice, 1910

Words by Maria Konopnicka 1908

Music by Feliks Nowowiejski, Cracow 1910


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Cracow, 16 July 1910 Niepolomice, 1910


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Cracow, 16 July 1910 Niepolomice, 1910


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Cracow, 17 July 1910 Niepolomice, 1910


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“Just as Grunwald marks the beginning of the consciousness of national strength, the memory of Grunwald marks the beginnings of consciousness of the people and the workers.”

Bishop Bandurski in his sermon held in the Church of St.. Mary on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the battle of Grunwald on July 21, 1910





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  • Outline Monument)

  • Celebrating the nation

  • 2. Russia

  • 3. Ukraine

  • 4. Poland

  • 5. National holidays today

  • 6. Conclusion


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Russia Monument)

  • February 23 Protector of the Motherland

    Day

  • March 8 International Women’s Day

  • May 1 Spring and Labour Day

  • May 9 Victory Day (Over German Nazism in WW2)

  • June 12 Independence Day (Russia Day)

  • November 4  Day of National Unity


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Ukraine Monument)

  •  March 8       International Women’s Day      

  •  May 1 and 2    The Day of the International Solidarity of the Workers       

  • May 9            Victory Day       

  • June 28         Constitution Day       

  • August 24      Independence Day


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Poland Monument)

  • May 1 May Day

  • May 3 Constitution Day

  • November 11 Independence Day



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  • Outline Monument)

  • Celebrating the nation

  • 2. Russia

  • 3. Ukraine

  • 4. Poland

  • 5. National holidays today

  • 6. Conclusion


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Conclusion – Functions of national celebrations Monument)

  • Strengthening national unity

  • Inclusion and exclusion

  • Ritualized visualisation of the nation

  • Defining the nation’s past

  • Raising the spirit of the nation

  • Stabilising the existing political order or calling for a revision/revolution


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