|English: Hey, Slavs|
National anthem of
Serbia and Montenegro
|Also known as||Hej, Slovenci
|Lyrics||Samuel Tomášik, 1834|
|Adopted||1977 (by law, temporary)
1988 (by the Constitution)
Hey, Slavs is an anthemic song dedicated to Slavic peoples. Its first lyrics were written in 1834 under the title Hey, Slovaks (Hej, Slováci) by Samuel Tomášik and it has since served as the anthem of the Pan-Slavic movement, the anthem of the Sokol physical education and political movement, the anthem of the SFR Yugoslavia and the transitional anthem of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The song is also considered to be the second, unofficial anthem of the Slovaks. Its melody is based on Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, which has been also the anthem of Poland since 1926, but the Yugoslav variation is much slower and more accentuated.
The song was written by the Slovak Lutheran pastor, poet and historian Samuel Tomášik while he was visiting Prague in 1834. He was appalled that German was more commonly heard in the streets of Prague than Czech. He wrote in his diary:
- "If mother Prague, the pearl of the Western Slav world, is to be lost in a German sea, what awaits my dear homeland, Slovakia, which looks to Prague for spiritual nourishment? Burdened by that thought, I remembered the old Polish song Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, póki my żyjemy ("Poland has not yet perished as long as we live."). That familiar melody caused my heart to erupt with defiant Hej, Slováci, ešte naša slovenská reč žije ("Hey, Slovaks, our Slovak language still lives")... I ran to my room, lit a candle and wrote down three verses into my diary in pencil. The song was finished in a moment." (Diary of Samuel Tomášik, Sunday, 2 November 1834)
He soon altered the lyrics to include all Slavs and Hey, Slavs became a widely known rallying song for Slav nationalism and Pan-Slavic sentiment, especially in Slavic lands governed by Austria. It was printed in numerous magazines and calendars and sung at political gatherings, becoming an unofficial anthem of the Pan-Slavic movement.
Its popularity continued to increase when it was adopted as the official anthem of the Sokol ("falcon") physical education movement, which was based on Pan-Slavic ideals and active across Austria-Hungary. In 1905, the erection of a monument to the Slovene poet France Prešeren in Ljubljana was celebrated by a large gathering of people singing Hey, Slavs. During the First World War, the song was often used by Slav soldiers from the opposite sides of the frontline to communicate common nationalist sentiment and prevent bloodshed. Many Slovenian, Croatian and Serb members of Sokol conscripted into Austro-Hungarian army voluntarily surrendered to Serbian or Russian forces and often even changed sides. The song spread with them across the Balkans and Russia and remained popular in the inter-war period.
In Slovakia, the song "Hey, Slovaks" has been considered the unofficial song of the Slovaks throughout its modern history, especially at times of revolutions. Although after the First World War the song Nad Tatrou sa blýska became the official Slovak anthem in Czechoslovakia and then again in 1993 in the independent Slovak Republic, the song is still considered a "second" anthem by many (usually more nationalist) people. Contrary to popular assumptions, however, it was not the official anthem of the wartime Slovak Republic (1939–1945), but it was greatly favored by the ruling party (Slovakia's official anthem remained Nad Tatrou sa blýska during that period).
First appearance of the Hey, Slavs on territory of Yugoslavia was in times of Illyrian movement. Dragutin Rakovac translated the song, and named it Hey, Illyrians (Croatian: Hej, Iliri). Until Second World War, the translation did not suffer many changes, except Illyrians became Slavs.
In 1941 the Second World War engulfed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Axis powers invaded in early April, and the Yugoslav royal army disintegrated and capitulated in just two and a half weeks. Since the old Yugoslav anthem included references to the king and kingdom, the anti-royalist Partisan resistance led by Josip Broz Tito and his Communist party decided to avoid it and opted for Hey, Slavs instead. The song was sung at both the first and the second session of AVNOJ, the legislative body of the resistance, and it gradually became to be generally considered the national anthem of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (new Yugoslavia).
The old anthem was officially abandoned after the liberation in 1945, but no new anthem was officially adopted. There were several attempts to promote other, more specifically Yugoslav songs as the national anthem, but none gained much public support and Hey, Slavs continued to be used unofficially. The search for a better candidate continued up to 1988, while in 1977 Hey, Slavs the law only named the title of the national anthem, listing it as a temporary anthem until a new would have been adopted.
Hej, Slavs was the national anthem of SFR Yugoslavia from 1943 to 1991 (48 years). With formal adoption (inauguration) of the Amendment IX to the Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the anthem Hey, Slavs gained constitutional sanction on November 25, 1988. After the 43 years of continued use as the de facto anthem, the delegates simply brought the law in line with the reality.
|Western variant||Eastern variant||Cyrillic script||English translation|
Hej Slaveni, jošte živi
Živi, živi duh slavenski
Nek se sada i nad nama
Mi stojimo postojano
Hej Sloveni, jošte živi
Živi, živi duh slovenski
Nek se sada i nad nama
Mi stojimo postojano
Хеј Словени, јоште живи
Живи, живи дух словенски
Нек' се сада и над нама
Ми стојимо постојано
Hey, Slavs, it still lives
It lives, it lives the Slavic spirit,
Let everything above us now
We stand firmly
Еј, Словени, жив е тука
Жив е вечно, жив е духот
Пустошејќи, нека бура
Стоиме на стамен-прагот
Ej, Sloveni, živ e tuka
Živ e vechno, živ e dukhot
Pustošejkji, neka bura
Stoime na stamen-pragot
Hej Slovani, naša reč
Živi, živi, duh slovanski,
Naj tedaj nad nami
Bratje, mi stojimo trdno
Serbia and Montenegro
After the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991-92, when only Serbia and Montenegro remained in the federation, Hey, Slavs continued to be used as the anthem of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That country was renamed to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003 and was expected to adopt a new anthem, but since no agreement over national symbols could be reached, Hey, Slavs remained the anthem of the state union.
A hybrid of the Montenegrin national anthem "Oj, svijetla majska zoro" with the Serbian national anthem, "Bože Pravde" in alternating verses was proposed. However, this attempt was struck down after objections by the People's Party of Montenegro and Socialist People's Party of Montenegro. Also proposed was the former Montenegrin national anthem and patriotic song "Onamo, 'namo", however this also fell through and Hey, Slavs remained the national anthem. Since Montenegro and Serbia became independent states in 2006, this issue is moot, and Hey, Slavs is no longer used as an official anthem by any sovereign country.
- Mazurek Dąbrowskiego & Hej Slaveni Its melody is based.
- Amandmani IX do XLVII na Ustav Socijalističke Federativne Republike Jugoslavije, "Službeni list SFRJ", br. 70/88, No. 932, pp 1793-1806
- Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Hey, Slavs - Audio of the national anthem of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with information and lyrics
- The story of Hej Slovaci, incl. an artistic translation of the original Slovak text.
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