KUD Seljačka Sloga from Gradište emerged as the winners of the folklore contest at the 58th Vinkovačke jeseni in Vinkovci, Croatia. KUD Mijat Stojanović from Babina Grede secured second place, while the folk dancers from KUD “Slavko Janković Rokovci-Andrijaševci” claimed third place. The Expert Evaluation Committee, comprising ethnologist Ms. Ljubica Gligorević, choreographer Vido Bagur, and music educator Marinko Blažinkov, reported the results during the Round Table discussion. KUD Seljačka Sloga showcased the authentic Gradište folklore, impressing the judges. President Ivan Kolik expressed surprise and gratitude for the recognition, attributing the success to the hard work of the KUD Seljačka Sloga members. The group presented traditional dances and performances inspired by Gradište folklore on stage. The Men’s Choir performed the song “Urodila žuta Gunja,” and various solo and group dances, such as the “šokačko kolo,” “Kalendari,” and the lively “bećarac,” concluded their winning performance.
The folklore contest featured 37 traditional groups, 7 choreographed groups, and the Association for Persons with Disabilities “Zrno,” presenting their performances within the allotted eight-minute time frame across six Folklore Evenings. The judging was carried out by three experts with their respective specializations. They focused on providing constructive feedback to enhance future performances, acknowledging the immense effort put in by all participants. The central theme of this year’s event, “Dva sjaja dukata” (Two Shining Ducats), set a festive atmosphere, influencing the performances of the folklore groups. The theme revolved around weddings, celebrations, dowry preparations, and gift-giving to children, showcasing various aspects of traditional customs and traditions. Some groups also highlighted traditional work attire related to harvesting, selling crafts, or washing clothes by the Danube. The connection between younger and older generations was evident throughout the performances, adding depth and richness to the presentations.
The judging panel comprised of experts in different fields. Ms. Gligorević was responsible for traditional clothing, accessories, dialectal speech, snippets of life, traditional hairstyling, head coverings, and footwear. Marinko Blažinkov oversaw folk singing and instrumental performances, focusing on the authenticity, purity, and precision of the traditional songs. Vido Bagur, a choreographer, ensured the authenticity and precision of dance steps and traditional dances specific to their regions. The harmony between authentic work attire and festive costumes was deemed crucial by the panel. The authenticity of songs, dialectal speech, and attention to detail were emphasized as essential aspects for preserving cultural heritage. The panel’s evaluation included both professional assessment and overall impressions, taking into account the performance quality, stage presentation, entrance and exit from the stage, gender ratio, and other visible elements within the given time frame. The panel stressed the improvements in singing and dance steps, while highlighting the need for more traditional musicians and the emergence of traditional instruments like bagpipes.
Participating in Vinkovačke jeseni holds immense significance for the most successful groups, as it offers opportunities to represent Vukovar-Srijem County at other prestigious folklore events and document their success for their KUD’s history. It serves as a motivating factor and an opportunity to educate and guide the younger generation in preserving their cultural heritage. The ethnologist, Ms. Gligorević, emphasized the importance of preserving authenticity in all aspects that make the region unique worldwide.
In conclusion, Vinkovačke jeseni offers various events for attendees, including the general rehearsal of the opening ceremony and a concert by Sinovi ravnice. Additionally, the Croatian Philatelic Society Vinkovci has organized a display of postage stamps related to birds, nature, sports, statehood, and scouting in the library, providing valuable knowledge about these topics.