Hey, Slavs

Hey, Slavs

Infobox Anthem
title = Хеј, Словени
transcription = Hej, Slaveni
english_title = Hey, Slavs
alt_title = Hej, Sloveni
alt_title_2 = Hej, Slovani

image_size =
caption =
prefix = National
country = Yugoslavia,
later Serbia and Montenegro
author = Samuel Tomášik
lyrics_date = 1834
composer = Composer unknown
music_date =
adopted = 1977
until = 2006
sound = United States Navy Band - Hey, Slavs.ogg
sound_title = "Hey, Slavs" (instrumental)

"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, as well as the anthem of the World War II Slovak Republic, Yugoslavia and 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 it is much slower and more accentuated.

It is called Hej, Slováci in Slovak, Hej, Slované in Czech, Хеј Словени/Hej, Sloveni in Serbian and Montenegrin, Еј, Словени in Macedonian, Hej, Slaveni in Croatian and Bosnian, Hej, Slovani in Slovenian and Hej Słowianie in Polish, Хей, Славяни in Bulgarian Гей, Славяне in Russian, Гий, Славляне in Rusyn.

Hey, Slovaks

The song was written by the Slovak priest, 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)"

Pan-Slavic anthem

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. A notable exception were Poles who enjoyed autonomy in Austro-Hungary and were supportive towards it Polish Academic Information Center, University at Buffalo(text from Library of Congress " Poland: A Country Study.) [http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/classroom/longhist4.html] " "Poles suffered no religious persecution in predominantly Catholic Austria, and Vienna counted on the Polish nobility as allies in the complex political calculus of its multinational realm. In return for loyalty, Austrian Poland, or Galicia, received considerable administrative and cultural autonomy. Galicia gained a reputation as an oasis of toleration amidst the oppression of German and Russian Poland. The Galician provincial Sejm acted as a semiautonomous parliamentary body, and Poles represented the region in the empire government in Vienna. In the late 1800s, the universities of Kraków and L'vov (Polish form Lwów) became the centers of Polish intellectual activity, and Kraków became the center of Polish art and thought. Even after the restoration of independence, many residents of southern Poland retained a touch of nostalgia for the days of the Habsburg Empire".] . 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 Slovenian 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.

lovak anthem

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" ("Serbian/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 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 was finally abandoned, and in 1977 "Hey, Slavs" became the official national anthem of Yugoslavia.

erbia 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 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 Serb People's Party of Montenegro and Socialist People's Party of Montenegro.

Since Montenegro and Serbia became independent states in 2006, this issue is moot, and "Hey, Slavs" is not used as an official anthem by any sovereign country anymore.



External links

* [http://www.iarelative.com/nss1946/slovaci.htm The story of Hej Slovaci, incl. an artistic translation of the original Slovak text] .
* [http://www.slobodnajugoslavija.com/hej_slaveni.html Links to audio files of the anthem (Download section, at the bottom of the page)] .
* [http://www.hervardi.com The site of the Slovenian organization Hervardi, which mentiones the pre-Yugoslavian Slovenian version of Hey, Slavs, and also including a .MP3 of the rock version, as performed by their own band (they have a project, that consists in reviving old Slovenian slongs)] .

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