Bosnian Independence Day

Bosnia and Herzegovina
The country of Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrates the Bosnian Independence Day on 1 March each year.

Declaration of Independence
Bosnia and Herzegovina was declared independent on 3 March 1992 after a referendum held for independence from Yugoslavia. The referendum was boycotted by majority of the Serbs but ultimately it turned out that 99.7% votes were made in favor of independence. On 6 April 1992, both the states got international recognition, but the National day is still celebrated on 1st March every year, the day on which the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence.

Bosnia was a part of Yugoslavian Federation and was one of the bases for the development of military defense which eventually became a significant factor in the split of Yugoslavia in 1990s. In November 1990, first multi-party parliamentary elections were held in two phases resulting in an ethnic coalition government replacing communist power. This created a quandary whether to remain with the Federation or to seek independence. On 24 October 1991, Serb members abandoned the central parliament in Sarajevo and formed the Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina which also marked the end of the coalition. It was then followed by a referendum for independence which was boycotted by majority of the Serbs. The two states then declared independence on 3 March 1992, and one month later on 6 April 1992 received international recognition. Following the declaration, the Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina further established the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina which became the Republica Srpska in August 1992.

The typical songs of Bosnia and Herzegovina are ganga, rera and also kolo, which is a Slavic music for the prevalent folk dances. There are a number of patriotic songs created for the country. One of which was the national anthem from 1992 to 1998 named Jedna si jedina which means You are the one and only. Current national anthem (Državna himna Bosne i Hercegovine) is composed by Dusan Sestic.

The celebration on the given date mainly occurs in some parts of the country where Muslims have majority while 1st March is officially a working day amongst the Serb community. To commemorate the Independence Day, wreaths (flower arrangements) are laid throughout the capital Sarajevo followed by the ‘Eternal Flame’ in the city center. Many cities have special street parades and cultural shows to observe this day.

Bosnia has been inhabited by the ‘Illyrians’ from the Neolithic age, so certain customs are still prevalent like tattooing and dancing in various forms. The two regions are indistinguishable in culture, variations are minimal but cultural identity is still divisive. For Muslims, the month of Ramadan (fasting month) is celebrated with large Turkish style meals consisting of pastries and sweets while the Eastern Orthodox celebrate Easter with breads and decorated eggs. In Muslim weddings, bride’s parents give a specially woven dowry rug on which couple initial name is inscribed along with the wedding date. In terms of etiquette, in Muslim houses kissing on cheeks is a form of customary greetings.

The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Federal Democratic Republic. The Parliament consists of two Upper and Lower houses namely House of Peoples and House of Representatives respectively. There are three official languages; Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian and the same three ethnic groups (48% Bosniaks, 37.1% Serbs, 14.3% Croats, 0.6% other) which form the majority of the overall population of the country.

Last Updated : July 21st, 2018