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Ajvatovica: A Bridge Between Tradition and National and Religious Identity

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The religious/cultural event Ajvatovica, the most attended Muslim gathering in Europe, provides a vivid example of the “cooperation” that exists between the nation and religion in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Although officially a religious event, it has a special place in the ambiguous nation-building project of BiH, relating specifically to the nation-building process of Bosniaks. In this paper, I will address this religious event in its historical and social context, and point to its significance and symbolism. I will pay particular attention to the attitudes of the socialist authorities towards this event, the motives behind its revival and its context, and the modifications made to it during the 1990s, which were closely related to the social and political changes taking place in BiH.
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Keywords: Ajvatovica; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Gathering; Islam; National Identity; Religion

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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