The purpose of Cravat Day
The installation “A Cravat around the Arena”, performed on 18th October 2003 in Pula, created by Marijan Bušić, was as a world scale spectacle, seen on world television by more than a billion people. It was assessed as “the most ambitious, most well-thought out concept and project to promote the Croatian identity” (Ive Šimat Banov). Through this installation, with the largest cravat in the world, the ancient and the contemporary eras were linked symbolically, and the red color of the cravat sent a message to the world of love and life together for all peoples and nations. At this year’s book fair in Leipzig, where Croatia was a partner country, on the title page of the program book of Croatian authors there was a picture of precisely the Cravat around the Arena.
“The cravat is communication, a universal symbol of dignity and dress culture, and its symbolic potential also holds other values. The vertical cravat symbolizes the human vertical – human dignity and self-awareness, a moment of ceremony and celebration, success and the business spirit… By its fluttering lightness, however, on the one hand, and the knot on the other, the cravat “binds together” freedom and responsibility. It encourages us to communicate more aware of our own dignity and the dignity of others, our freedom, but also our responsibility. Due to its huge symbolic power, the cravat has epochal importance for Croatia and the world” Marijan Bušić pointed out, as the initiator of the project, Croatia – the Homeland of the Cravat.
With the cravat and the AC projects, Croatia is not only presenting itself to the world but is communicating with it, thereby showing its desire for openness and an exchange of cultural values with other nations. This desire for openness to other cultures, despite its suffering in history, has always been a dominant characteristic of Croatia’s relationship with the world.
After the worldwide success of the Cravat around the Arena installation, which pointed out the cravat as a special medium on a world scale, AC launched the initiative to mark 18th October every year as Cravat Day in Croatia and the world.
Last year’s Cravat Day was promoted on 18th October as a “day of ceremony and community” under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesić, and was marked by a series of cultural and social events throughout Croatia – in Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Knin, Imotski, Dubrovnik, Ogulin, Varaždin, Karlovac, Osijek, Nova Gradiška, Slavonski Brod… Some of these events were prompted by AC, and many events were initiated by towns, tourist boards, various cultural associations, and individuals at their own initiative. Cravat Day was “celebrated” in various towns throughout the world, in Dublin, Tuebingen, Como, Tokyo, Sidney… Last year, the celebration of Cravat Day confirmed that people in Croatia and the world understand and accept the message and value of Cravat Day.
We believe that marking Cravat Day contributed to establishing and awareness of the positive values of identity in Croatian society, and a recognizable and positive image of Croatia in the world. At the same time, the cravat, with its powerful symbolism, may be a factor in strengthening European identity and unity. Therefore we propose that the 18th October be marked every year in the Republic of Croatia as Cravat Day, and that the same proposal should be sent to the European Union and the UN.