AE - 6th International Conference YOUth and MUSEums

June 12-16, 2014 6th International Conference YOUth and MUSEums - forgotten customs and traditions of ethnic minorities, 75th Anniversary, Golesti, Romania

Conference Paper: ‟Austria‟s largest „traditional‟ ethnic minority: the Burgenland Croats: keeping a culture alive‟
Abstract: Customs and traditions as personal identity appear to play a diminishing role in the daily life of youth the world over and are being forgotten or relegated to museum exhibitions. For some, „folkloric traditions‟ are at best seen as old fashioned or irrelevant, at worst stigmatizing.

This paper looks at Austria‟s largest traditional ethnic minority, the Burgenland Croats and how they have successfully organized to ensure the preservation of their cultural identity. Their success is remarkable considering the rise of a more critical and socially-aware youth with a non-folkloristic attitude to the issue of ethnic minorities.

Through various cultural and academic associations a framework has been established for young Burgenland Croats to maintain contact with their greater community and heritage while providing room for individuation in a broader socio-cultural context. Furthermore, through an effective information and public relations network the image of the Burgenland Croats has been revised and expanded from the cliché of a people wearing national costumes and playing the tamburica to one of Burgenland Croats in their cultural, political, ideological, economic and social diversity.