Scouts’ Day in Croatia Date in the current year: May 19, 2022

Scouts’ Day in Croatia Scouts’ Day in Croatia is celebrated on May 19. This date was chosen to commemorate the first training of Croatian Scouts after the lifting of the ban on Scouting imposed in the aftermath of World War II.

The history of the Scouting Movement in Croatia dates back to the early 20th century, when Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The first Scout units in Croatia were founded in the towns of Mali Lošinj, Opatija, Pula, and Rijeka in 1913–1918. They were part of the Austrian Scout Association (Österreichischer Pfadfinderbund, ÖPB).

After World War I, all Croatian-based ÖPB units were disbanded, but the Croatian Scouting Movement continued to develop in the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (the predecessor of Yugoslavia). In 1922, the kingdom’s Scouting organization became one of the founding members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

The next year, the king took patronage of the Scouting Movement, which consisted of 14 Scouting units. However, six years later, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes wad officially renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and all organizations that didn’t have the word “Yugoslav” in their names were banned. After the ban, Croatian Scouts stood against the Yugoslavian monarchy and began to use the red and white Croatian checkerboard pattern (šahovnica) on their emblem.

The second ban on Scouting in Yugoslavia resulted from the emergence of the communist pioneer movement during World War II. When the war ended, Yugoslavia became a socialist republic allied with the Soviet Union, and the Yugoslav government banned all children’s and youth organizations except for the Union of Pioneers of Yugoslavia, founded in 1942 within the League of Communist Youth.

Relations between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia quickly deteriorated, and Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito lifted the ban on the Scout Movement. However, Yugoslavian Scouts were forced to relinquish their membership in the World Organization of the Scout Movement and continued to work in conjunction with the Union of Pioneers.

The first training camp for Scouts and pioneers was held in Zagreb from May 19 to 25, 1950. The anniversary of its opening day is now celebrated in Croatia as Scout’s Day. The Scout Association of Yugoslavia was officially established in Zagreb on November 24, 1951.

As the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia began to collapse in 1991, the Scout Association of Croatia split from the Scout Association of Yugoslavia and returned to its earlier principles of youth education, inspired by Robert Baden-Powell’s teachings and unaffected by the communist ideology. One of the main tasks of the revived Scout Association of Croatia was to help children impacted by the civil war.

On June 13, 1993, the Scout Association of Croatia was admitted to the World Organization of the Scout Movement as a full-fledged member. Since then, Croatian Scouts have participated in regional and international Jamborees on a regular basis. In addition to the national Scout Association, there are overseas units of the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA in Zagreb.

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Other Observances

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Croatia

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Scouts’ Day in Croatia, observances in Croatia, Scouting Movement in Croatia, Scout Association of Croatia, Scouting