Šokci (Serbo-Croatian: Šokci / Шокци, Hungarian: Sokácok) are an ethnographic group of South Slavs mainly identified as Croats. They are not considered a separate ethnicity in Croatia and elsewhere. They live in various settlements along the Danube and Sava rivers in the historic regions of Slavonia, Baranya, Syrmia and western Bačka. These regions today span eastern Croatia, southeastern Hungary, and northern Serbia. Šokci are considered natives in Slavonia and Syrmia in Croatia.
National flag Šokci in Serbia
|Overall unknown; 607 in Serbia|
|Regions with significant populations|
| Croatia: Slavonia and Baranja|
Hungary: Baranya County
Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Serbo-Croatian and Hungarian|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Bunjevci, Croats and Serbs|
Šokci are considered to be a native population of Slavonia and Syrmia in Croatia. The Croatian Bureau of Statistics does not record the Šokci as a separate narodnost (2001). According to the 2011 census in Serbia, 607 people declared as ethnic Šokci. Outside of Slavonia and Syrmia, they live in the settlements of Bački Monoštor, Sonta, Sombor, Bački Breg in Bačka, Serbia, and Hercegszántó in Hungary.
The term Šokac (masculine), Šokica and Šokčica (feminine), is used for the part of Croatian Ikavian speakers native in Slavonia, Baranja, Bačka and Bosnia. The oldest documents are from 1644–1698, 1702 (population of Đakovo Diocese), katolici, Šokci jali Slovinci ... Šokci rehuć Slovinci katolici. In Croatia, particurarly in Lika it is opposed to term Vlachs (for Orthodox Serbs), and the Serbs pejoratively use it for the Croats. Denominal šokčiti ("Catholicize"), šoketati ("to speak Ikavian"). Eastern Slavonia and western Syrmia in Croatia is often referred to as Šokadija ("land of the Šokci"), although the term is not geographically limited, it is rather a general moniker for the Šokac "ancestral land". The ethnonym is of unknown etymological derivation, and there are several hypotheses on the origin:
Matija Petar Katančić (1750–1825), the first to theorize on the name, connected the ethnonym with the toponym of Succi or Succus in Thrace, found in the work of Ammianus Marcellinus (fl. 353–378). He also derived it from šljivov sok (plum juice). Ćiro Truhelka derived it from Albanian shoq < Latin sočius, but comparison to Montenegrin surname Šoć makes it dismissive. Others, including Vuk Karadžić, derived it from Italian word sciocco [ˈʃɔkko] ("frenzied, insane"). F. Kluge (1924) derived it from German schock, "a detachment of 60 men", which was the size of historical border patrols on the Sava. V. Skarić (1932) theorized that it was derived from German der Sachse ("Saxon", sh. Sas), for which there's lack of historical evidence. Petar Skok derived it from Turkish-Persian noun šoh ~ suh ("wicked, shameless, unclean") with suffix "-gin, -kin" ("unclean"). In his unfinished etymological dictionary published in 1973, the editors considered most reasonable the Romanian şoacăţ with primary meaning a mouse, and secondary meaning a mockery for Western Europeans (especially Germans) who dressed in urban fashion, from which derives adjective şoacăfesc (German), abstraction įoacăţie. Other assumptions are from Serbo-Croatian word skok or uskok ("to jump, leap, to jump in"), or from folk etymology šaka ("fist"), from the way they make the sign of the cross which is different from Orthodox's sign with three fingers.
The origin of Šokci people is not completely clear. The prevalent opinion of modern scholars, based on etymology, is that they were Catholics who moved from the south, across the Sava from Bosnia, by the end of the Ottoman wars in Europe, as the Ottomans were retreating. The Šokci in Baranja are considered to be descendants of settlers from a mass migration of Croats from an area near Srebrenica, Bosnia into the region after the Ottoman retreat in the 18th century. Regardless of when exactly they settled there, Šokci are considered to be an indigenous Croatian population of Slavonia and Vojvodina, which distinguishes them from the majority of the present-day population of these regions who are descendants of later settlers. The feeling of being indigenous rather than a settler is an important characteristic of the population.
The earliest known Ottoman Turkish defter that mentions the Šokci dates from 1615, a ferman by sultan Ahmed I, dated Safer 9, 1024 according to the Islamic calendar, in which he referred to them as the population of the "Latin faith" whose "religion is completely different from the faith of the Serbs, Greeks and Vlachs". They are also mentioned in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church where they requested Jeronim Lučić to become the bishop of Bosnia and Slavonia in 1635, and in one writing from the time when Eugene of Savoy invaded Ottoman territory down to Sarajevo in 1697.
In the 1702 census of Đakovo, one of the cities that was retaken from the Ottoman Empire following the Treaty of Karlowitz, there were 500–600 inhabitants described as Catholic Slav/Slavonian (Latin: Slavi catholicae fidae). Tadija Smičiklas later republished the same census and used the terms "Slovinci" and/or "Šokci", and claimed 400 inhabitants. According to the contemporary Antun Kanižlić (1699–1766), the term Šokci was a slang reference to Catholic Slavonians that was used by the Orthodox.
According to the Austrian census in Bačka from 1715, Serbs, Bunjevci, and Šokci comprised 97.6% of population. The 1720 census in Bačka recorded 72% Serbs and 22% Bunjevci and Šokci. After the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), the first Habsburg census recorded in Banat about 20,000 citizens, mostly Serbs.
In the old Austro-Hungarian censuses there was large number of Šokci, both in Croatia/Slavonia and in Vojvodina. According to the 1840 data, the population of Croatia, Slavonia and Vojvodina numbered 1,605,730 people, of which 777,880 (48%) were Croats, 504,179 (32%) Serbs, and 297,747 (19%) Šokci. The Šokci were concentrated in the Požega, Virovitica, and Syrmia counties, and in the Slavonian Military Frontier.
Šokci living in Croatia and Hungary, as well as many of those living in Serbia, today usually consider themselves to be a subgroup of Croats. In Serbia, Šokci and Bunjevci have been recorded as a separate "modality" or national or ethnic affiliation by the national census in 1991 and 2002. Unlike Bunjevci, the other Catholic Slavic group from the same area, Šokci mostly declare themselves as Croats rather than the separate group, and some have also declared themselves Yugoslavs in the census. In the 1991 census, there were 1,922 declared Šokci in what has later become Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and a much larger number of Croats. The population that declared "Šokci" as an ethnicity in the 2002 census is small and appears in summary lists under "Other", while there were over 70,000 declared Croats. The choice of ethnicity between "Šokac" and "Croat" that is promoted in Serbia is described by scholars in Croatia as bizarre and harmful, because it exacerbates the Šokac myths of independence and antiquity, puts them into the realm of political folklore and helps provoke various 19th-century conflicts between the Croats and the Serbs.
In general, the number and the percentage of the Šokci has decreased because of an unwritten policy that each family should have only one child, because they did not wish to divide their estate and other riches in each following generation. Unfortunately such a practice worked up until the 19th/20th century, at which point they were practically overwhelmed in number by the immigrants which had a much larger reproduction rate (certainly over two children per family at the time).
Villages with numerous Šokac population in the region of Bačka are: Sonta (Apatin municipality), Bački Breg and Bački Monoštor (Sombor municipality). In 2002 census in Serbia, most of the inhabitants of these villages declared themselves as Croats.
The Šokci speak an old-Shtokavian Slavonian sub-dialect that is almost exclusively spoken by Šokci. The Slavonian dialect has a mixed Ikavian and Ekavian accent: Ikavian is predominant in Posavina, Baranja, Bačka and in the Slavonian sub-dialect enclave of Derventa; and Ekavian in Podravina. There are also enclaves of one accent in the territory of the other, and also of mixed Ekavian–Ikavian and Jekavian–Ikavian accents. In some villages in Hungary, the original Slavic yat sound is preserved.
Many of the traditions of the Šokci are influenced by their environment – they live in the fertile Pannonian plain where they cultivate grains and corn in large fields surrounding their villages. The villages often have one main street (šor) where each subsequent family house has auxiliary buildings and a spacious yard, as well as a water well. The central street is surrounded on both sides by water channels, which have small crossings in order for one to reach the house.
Families often keep poultry, particularly ducks and geese, although the main source of meat are the pigs, which are almost inevitably kept by a Šokac. They enjoy pork-based products such as ham, sausages (particularly kulen) and bacon. These products are customarily obtained by the traditional autumn slaughtering. The most common fruit are plums, not least because it is often fermented into liquor called rakija.
The abundance in which they have traditionally lived has made the Šokci a naturally merry people, who pay a lot of attention to folklore. Each Šokac village inevitably has a cultural society where they cultivate their folk songs and dances. A popular folk custom is the bećarac. They also hold a yearly festivity called the "Šokačko sijelo", held over a nine-day period in February, being the largest traditional event in the area of Posavina near Županja, featuring local culture and traditions.
The most recognisable feature of Šokci culture is their music which is played mostly on the tambura instrument. Many tambura bands achieved nationwide fame in Croatia. The body of the tambura was traditionally made of the wood of maple, poplar or plum trees, while today it's mostly made of spruce or fir trees. Another instruments used in the past was the bagpipe. The traditional wedding festivities are paid much attention to, sometimes even catching the attention of entire villages.
The traditional outfit of the Šokci, called the rubina, is made of white linen cloth with lace decorations, and the main part of it is a blouse called oplećak i krila. The women mostly wear the entire outfit only in the summer, replacing it with a wool skirt in the winter. The most esteemed decoration of a Šokac outfit are the gold coins known as dukati (ducats). A rich Šokac girl would have a large number of dukati weaved onto her chest not only as a decoration but as a clear sign that she comes from a wealthy family.
U mojem selu, u Sikirevcima, ima mnoštvo Rakitića, ali samo jedan mi je rođak. A svi se zovu Ivan Rakitić. Šokci smo sto posto...
Baranya (Hungarian: Baranya, Croatian: Baranja, Serbian: Барања / Baranja, German: Branau) was an administrative county (comitatus) of the Kingdom of Hungary. Its territory is now in southern Hungary (the present county Baranya) and northeastern Croatia (part of the Osijek-Baranja county). The capital of the county was Pécs.Bački Monoštor
Bački Monoštor (Serbian Cyrillic: Бачки Моноштор) is a village located in the Sombor municipality, in the West Bačka District of Serbia. It is situated in the autonomous province of Vojvodina. The village has a Croat majority (that belong to the Croat subgroup of Šokac). Population of Bački Monoštor is numbering 3,920 people (2002 census). In 1991 census, largest number of inhabitants of this village declared themselves as Yugoslavs.Bunjevac-Šokac Party
Bunjevac-Šokac Party (Croatian: Bunjevačko-šokačka stranka) was a political party of Croats the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, part of province of Bačka (today Serbia).
The party was founded on September 15, 1920, in order to continue the organized political activity of Croats from Bačka (Bunjevci and Šokci), which had its tradition even before World War I. The party made good results on the parliamentary elections in 1920 and 1923. Its leader was Blaško Rajić.
After November 28, 1924, a crisis in party came because of disagreements among membership about the visions of organized political life of Croats in Bačka in future. Part of membership was for "separated" way, while the other part was politically inclining towards HRSS of Stjepan Radić. At that time, the leader of Party was Josip Vuković-Đido. After disagreements with party leadership in 1924, Blaško Rajić abandoned the party.
The elections in 1925 proved that majority of Croats from Bačka stood by Bunjevac-Šokac Party. In the short time while these two parties coexisted, these parties spent that time in mutual accusations. Over the time BŠS more and more inclined towards Stjepan Radić and HSS. In 1926 almost all membership of this party joined Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) of Stjepan Radić. Finally, the Rajić himself turned to leader of Croats Stjepan Radić and became resilient supporter of him and his party, HSS.Bunjevci
Bunjevci (Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: [bǔɲeːʋtsi, bǔː-]) are a South Slavic ethnic group living mostly in the Bačka region of Serbia (province of Vojvodina) and southern Hungary (Bács-Kiskun county, particularly in the Baja region). They presumably originate from western Herzegovina, whence they migrated to Dalmatia, and from there to Lika and Bačka in the 17th century. Bunjevci who remained in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as those in modern Croatia today maintain that designation chiefly as a regional identity, and declare as ethnic Croats. Those who emigrated to Hungary were largely assimilated, and assumed Hungarian or Croatian designation. Bunjevci are mainly Roman Catholic, and speak the Bunjevac dialect of Serbo-Croatian with Ikavian pronunciation and with certain archaic characteristics. During the 18th and 19th century, they formed a sizable part of the population of northern Bačka, but many of them were gradually assimilated into larger ethnic groups in the region.Busójárás
The Busójárás (Hungarian, meaning "Busó-walking"; in Croatian: Pohod bušara) is an annual celebration of the Šokci living in the town of Mohács, Hungary, held at the end of the Carnival season ("Farsang"), ending the day before Ash Wednesday. The celebration features Busós (people wearing traditional masks) and includes folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing. Busójárás lasts six days, usually during February. It starts on a Thursday, followed by the Kisfarsang (Little Farsang) carnival on Friday, with the biggest celebration, Farsang vasárnap (Farsang Sunday) on the seventh Sunday before Easter Sunday; the celebration then ends with Farsangtemetés (Burial of Farsang) on the following Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras).
These traditional festivities have been inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the UNESCO in 2009.Locals explain the Carnival with two related but different legends.
According to the most popular legend, during the Ottoman times of the territory, people from Mohács fled the town, and started living in the nearby swamps and woods to avoid Ottoman (Turkish) troops. One night, while they were sitting and talking around the fire, an old Šokac man appeared suddenly from nowhere, and said to them: "Don't be afraid, your lives will soon turn to good and you'll return to your homes. Until that time, prepare for the battle, carve various weapons and scary masks for yourselves, and wait for a stormy night when a masked knight will come to you." He disappeared as suddenly as he arrived. The refugees followed his orders, and some days later, on a stormy night, the knight arrived. He ordered them to put on their masks and go back to Mohács, making as much noise as possible. They followed his lead. The Turks were so frightened by the noise, the masks, and the storm in the night, that they thought demons were attacking them, and they ran away from the town before sunrise.
In the older, less popular story, the busós are scaring away not the Turks but Winter itself.
In any case, the locals have celebrated the Busójárás in early February every year ever since, hosting "guest Busó teams" from neighbouring countries (Croatia and Serbia, local Šokci Croats and Slovenia) and also from Poland.Bács-Bodrog County
Bács-Bodrog County (Hungarian: Bács-Bodrog vármegye, German: Komitat Batsch-Bodrog, Serbian: Bačko-bodroška županija) was an administrative county (comitatus) of the Kingdom of Hungary from the 18th century to 1920. Its territory is currently in northern Serbia (western Vojvodina) and southern Hungary. The capital of the county was Zombor (present-day Sombor).Croats of Hungary
The Hungarian Croats (Croatian: Hrvati u Mađarskoj; Hungarian: Magyarországi horvátok) are an ethnic minority in Hungary. According to the 2011 census, there were 26,774 Croats in Hungary or 0.3% of population.Croats of Hungary belong to several ethnographic subgroups. The following groups called themselves through history as Croats: Burgenland Croats, Podravina Croats, Pomurje Croats. These Croats live along the Croatian-Hungarian border and along the Austrian-Hungarian border. There are also Bunjevci and Šokci.Croats of Serbia
The Croats of Serbia (Croatian: Hrvati u Srbiji, Serbian: Хрвати у Србији / Hrvati u Srbiji) are the recognized Croat national minority in Serbia, a status they received in 2002. According to the 2011 census, there were 57,900 Croats in Serbia or 0.8% of the region's population. Of these, 47,033 lived in Vojvodina, where they formed the fourth largest ethnic group, representing 2.8% of the population. A further 7,752 lived in the national capital Belgrade, with the remaining 3,115 in the rest of the country.
Croatian is listed as one of the six official languages of Vojvodina, autonomous province located in the northern part of the country which traditionally fosters multilingualism, multiculturalism and multiconfessionalism. Some people of Croat ethnic descent have held high positions in Serbia, such as Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Speaker of the National Assembly.Demographic history of Vojvodina
Vojvodina's demographic history reflects its rich history and its former location at the border of the Ottoman and Habsburg empires and at the confluence of various peoples, making it a hotbed of invasion, colonization, and assimilation processes. Currently there are more than 25 ethnic groups living in Vojvodina and six official languages.Hercegszántó
Hercegszántó (Serbian: Сантово, Serbian Latin: Santovo) is a village in the Bács-Kiskun county of Hungary, famous for being the birthplace of footballer Flórián Albert. Residents are Magyars, with minority of Šokci and Orthodox Serbs.
A border crossing into Serbia is located near Hercegszántó. The Serbian town of Bački Breg lies across the border. It is also only a few kilometres away from Croatia.Ivan Antunović
Ivan Antunović (Hungarian: Antunovich János; June 19, 1815 – January 3, 1888) was a Bunjevac writer, one of the most prominent public persons among the Bunjevci and Šokci people of his time. He was titular bishop in the service of the Kalocsa Archdiocese, Hungary. Antunović's writings helped preserve the language and culture of the Bunjevci and Šokci people.Iván Skerlecz
Baron Iván Skerlecz de Lomnicza (often rendered Ivan Škrlec Lomnički in Croatian; 20 July 1873 – 12 January 1951) was a Croatian ban (viceroy) between 21 July, 1913, until 29 June, 1917.
Skerlecz was born in Oroszló, Baranya County, Kingdom of Hungary in 1873. He was born into Šokci origin aristocratic family. The Hungarian prime minister István Tisza appointed Skerlecz head of the Austro-Hungarian crown land in 1913, shortly before World War I.
While Croatia-Slavonia was not the site of any battles, Croatian troops, fighting under the Croatian Home Guard took part in the fighting, much of it in neighbouring Serbia. Skerlecz managed to reconvene the Croatian Sabor (parliament) in Zagreb by 1915. The Croats made further demands for local authority, as well as unification of Croatia-Slavonia with Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Stefan Sarkotić, Austria-Hungary's commander in Bosnia and Herzegovina also sought unification of their provinces. However, Austria-Hungary's outdated political system made any shifts between areas under Hungarian or Austrian spheres of influence difficult. Skerlecz could only support the Croatians in acting autonomously. As the war progressed more Croats found the formation of a South Slav state a potentially beneficial possibility.
He resigned from his post on June 29, 1917 after Tisza was ousted from power, leaving the country in no better state than when he had arrived. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed the following year. Skerlecz became persona non grata in Kingdom of Yugoslavia, because he was known as an ardent opponent of the involvement of Croatia in the newly formed Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Skerlecz had to return to Hungary where he died in Budapest in 1951.Mara Švel-Gamiršek
Mara Švel-Gamiršek, also known as Mara Schwell (Sremska Mitrovica, 3 January 1900 – Zagreb, 7 December 1975) was Croatian writer from Syrmia. Beside prose, she also wrote poetry.Rajko Ljubič
Rajko Ljubić is a Bačkan ethnic Croat film director from Subotica, Serbia.
He mostly makes documentaries and short movies that deal with the life of the Bunjevci and Šokci Slavic groups from Bačka.
He has the donated many of his works to the Katolički institut za kulturu, povijest i duhovnost Ivan Antunović (Catholic Institute for the Culture, History and Spirituality Ivan Antunović).Szentborbás
Szentborbás (Croatian: Brlobaš) is the southernmost village of Somogy county, Hungary. Krancsevicza-puszta is part of the village.Tótújfalu
Tótújfalu (Croatian: Novo Selo) is a village in Somogy county, Hungary.Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar
The Voivodeship of Serbia and Banat of Temeschwar or Serbian Voivodeship and the Banate of Temes (German: Woiwodschaft Serbien und Temeser Banat), known simply as the Serbian Voivodeship (Serbische Woiwodschaft), was a province (duchy) of the Austrian Empire that existed between 1849 and 1860.
It was a separate crown land named after two former provinces: Serbian Vojvodina and Banat of Temes. Its former area is now divided between Serbia, Romania and Hungary. The Voivodeship gave its name to the present Serbian Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.Šokac
Šokac (Šokački jezik) was a language listed in Austro-Hungarian censuses. Population censuses performed in Austria-Hungary recorded the native language of the citizens, whereby Šokac was declared as native language to one part of the population, presumably members of the Šokci ethnic group. According to the 1910 census, the speakers of Šokac were recorded in the Bačka-Bodrog County, in the municipalities of Apatin, Baja, Odžaci, and Palanka. Although, not very different from Croatian or Serbian Shtokavian speech, Šokac could be identified along with Slavonian subdialect of the old-Štokavian speech. Today, most of the members of the Šokci community declare themselves as Croats in the census, and their language as Croatian or Serbian.