Volume XX |

Image of Hajduks and Uskoks and its role in formation of traditional sports and games as intangible heritage of Ex-Yugoslav area

Abstract: The history and cultural memory of hajduk’s and uskok’s movements in the Balkan territory are well-documented, and even became recognized as a part of tangible and intangible heritage through the Balkan region. The historical and cultural importance of those movements is mostly reflected in oral epic literature, toponomastics, and some local traditions and customs. The research aims to analyze the contexts of “hajduks and uskoks” heritage in the territory of former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro), and in particular, the reflections of cultural remains of those movements emphasized in oral traditions and traditional sports and games as intangible cultural heritage of the region. Special focus is placed on various traditional “hajduk games and skills” which were transmitted to the traditional sports events, and reflect great similarities on a regional level. This is confirmed by a comparison of selected events of the ex-Yugoslav area within different contexts. These events are perceived as part of living folk culture and sort of public memorialization of hajduk’s and uskok’s movements and historic battles, recently becoming a prospective element of intangible cultural heritage with international recognition (eg. Nevesinje Olympics, Alka of Sinj, Ljubičevo Equestrian Games, etc.). However, under the process of popularization and globalization, traditional folk sports and games became a sort of invented tradition under the process of commoditization and commercialization. The scopes and popularity of such sports events and traditions are limited and endangered, demanding more public attention, reaffirmation and support.