Friday, 8 May 2009


Vista is an old custom in this part of our country.

What people see, happens on the day when young men are recruited for the army. At least that was in the old days. The whole generation of boys who completed eighteen years of age that year, went to a physical.

After the examination, they travelled through the villages on a cart, decorated with green spruce branches and paper flowers. The cart had been decorated by the same boys - young men if you want - and often by the women of the village. They were usually the ones to make the paper flowers, like these our principal assistant got from the boys.

For this was, you see, the celebration of the village. And what did they celebrate? Another healthy generation of young men. Healthy enough to join the army. Not joining itself, I think

Nowadays joining the army is not mandatory. But the boys must still attend an informative meeting to find out about their duties an rights connected to the serving the army.

Actually, I didn't see so many flowers today, but I can't say they didn't put a great deal of work into arranging their carts. Do you agree?

Anyway, after that "lecture" they sit on their carts and take a very "long" way home. On that way they stop in many places. Like at the school they attended only three years ago. Here they are in our parking lot where the school bus stops. Well, this is no school bus:

Then they stood in a row, took their hats off, two of our nowadays students joined them and one of them played the accordion, cups in their hands and they sang. I suppose. I missed that. Probably the anthem.

They had to visit the teachers, too. And the librarian.

I remember years ago when they came into the classroom (a small unimportant thing like a lesson wouldn't bother them in any way), said hello, joked a little, sang a song, maybe played the accordion and left.

Our school would never lock the door to them. They are still our boys. But nevertheless, they re turning an old tradition into something that doesn't look so good and right any more. They come with loud sirens and make unbearable noise inside the school. They carry five and ten-liter plastic canisters of wine (from the vineyards of some of their parents) today they spilled some. They try to take some students with them when they leave - things are simply going too far. Some could hardly walk. It was not noon yet and they left to party for the rest of the day. And, believe me, I have photos I don't want to put up here.

Somehow, I'm afraid they missed the point. Some of them were already drunk at the meeting. At 9. 30.

This is what they got, together with the necessary information:

The first one says:

The second one says:
Slovenian army
proud of ourselves

They are lying on the shelf in our living room. Yep, my son was born the same year - even month - as our independent country. Slovenia itself, is much older, of course. But as an independent country it was being born - loudly with guns, shells and tanks while my little tiny boy and I were still in the hospital, listening to all that.

As one of the results, military service is no longer mandatory. There is a great chance actually, that none of those boys, or hardly any, will need any other plates, even slightly resembling these in the picture.


  1. Reminds me a little of prom at my school. The boys used to storm the classrooms the morning after prom night, drunk in their good clothes. The first suits of their life wine-stained. Wild-eyed. Triumphant.

    I never went to prom night. I was so glad school was out forever that I just left it without looking back. My clearest memory is the fine barbed wire between the others and myself. Every year, I looked at the ones storming the school after prom night and never once thought they had anything to do with me. I never once thought of them as "our boys".

    And now, these many years later, sometimes I think maybe I should have. But then it wouldn't have been me.

  2. "Our boys" , girls too, sometimes come back on an ordinary day, just to say Hi to the teachers. Now what do you think i should call them?

  3. "Our boys" is just right, I think. Because this is how you feel about them.

  4. Well, now I know where you reside! I guess if I had read your blog further back I would have known, but I figured sooner or later a definite mention would be made.

    If a village or even a country's celebration of an event becomes silly, it will also become meaningless and fall by the wayside. So it's up to its' constituents to keep the spirit of the celebration properly or it may fall into neglect.

    They should be admonished for their behavior as it is not proper, especially as they should be role models for your students.

  5. That they were. And we talked to our students about it. To let them know we are not against it, we like to see them, but certain things were just not right. As usually, only few of the boys ruined the whole picture.
    Some schools close their doors firmly on this day. Not good. I think they're sending the wrong message. Besides, the youngsters often break something then.

  6. It's always a shame when a few have to spoil things for the many. That whole celebration idea sounds like it could be a really nice time and a great excuse to teach a bit of recent history!

    Thanks for sharing this Minka :)

  7. This is a fascinating post. I am woefully ignorant about your country's ways, and I enjoyed this peek into your world.

    I agree with the statements made by Pop and Ice, though.