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istor i ja / history 68 | Srbija » Serbia Sr e t en j e : f rom upr i s i ng to const i t u t i on Birth of themodern Serbian state Serbia has been commemorating Statehood Day on 15th February since 2002, in remembrance of two important historical dates: the First Serbian Uprising against Ottoman rule (1804) and the date in 1835 when the first modern, and then extremely liberal, Constitution of the Principality of Serbia was adopted It is today difficult to imagine what the prevailing political and social climate of Serbia was like two centuries ago, when two events that proved crucial to the further course of our history occurred. The First Serbian Uprising was mounted in 1804, when the people rebelled against Ottoman rule, and the first Constitution was adopted in 1835, marking the beginning of the creation of the modern Serbian state. Both events took place on the important religious holiday of Sretenje [Candlemas], and that date of 15th February is today celebrated as Serbian Statehood Day. No other date has such unifying characteristics. It combines within it a combative, heroic tradition with a tradition of applying the highest values of civilisation, like democracy, human rights and freedoms. Let’s take the story back to the very start: Turkey, as one of the then strongest military powers, had aspirations to conquer the whole of Europe. The Belgrade Pashaluk was occupied by the Dahijas [renegade Janissary officers], whose oppression exceeded official Turkish tyranny. The people grew increasingly rageful until the dawning of that fateful day, 15th February, 1804, when Đorđe Petrović, aka Karađorđe, was selected, at an assembly in Orašac, to lead the uprising. The insurrection was put down in 1813, when Belgrade fell back into Turkish hands, but Karađorđe had managed to distribute the land among the peasants, and later, with Miloš’s confirmation [Prince Miloš Obrenović], Serbia became a country of free people, at a time when slavery still existed in America and Russia still had serfs. Following the collapse of the uprising, Karađorđe Dan kada je Hrist posvećen Bogu Srpska pravoslavna crkva i vernici 15. februara slave Sretenje Gospodnje, uspomenu na dan kada je Bogorodica novorođenog Hrista prvi put uvela u hram da ga posveti Bogu. Ovo predstavlja prvi susret Boga i čoveka pod svodovima jerusalimskog hrama i sretenje novorođenog mesije, koga je u naručje primio pravedni starac poznat kao sveti Simeon Bogoprimac. Slavi se uvek četrdesetog dana posle Božića. ThedayChristwas dedicatedtoGod It is on 15th February that theSerbian OrthodoxChurchcelebrates thePresentationof Jesus at the Temple, whichmemorialises the daywhen theHolyMother ofGod first brought thenew-bornChrist to the temple todedicatehim toGod. This represents the first meetingofGodandmanunder the vaults of the Jerusalemtemple and thepresentingof the infant Messiah, whenhewas received in thearms of a just anddevout elder, knownasSaint Simeon theGod-receiver. This holiday is always commemoratedon the 40th day after ChristmasDay. Šta kaže medved? Narod veruje da se tog dana sreću zima i proleće i budno motri ponašanje medveda. Ako osvane sunčano jutro, medved će se, uplašen od svoje senke, vratiti u zimski san narednih šest nedelja. Slično viđenje imaju i stanovnici nekih država Evrope i Amerike, samo su pod prismotrom jazavci i mrmoti. Whatdoesthebearsay? It is believedamong thepeople that thisdatealsomarks themeetingof winter and spring, and it is on that day that they carefully observe the behaviour of bears. If dawnbrings a sunnymorning, thebear will be scaredby its shadowandwill return tohibernation for another sixweeks. Asimilar tradition is practised in someEuropean andAmerican states, only the creatures “under observation” are badgers andgroundhogs.