For decades and centuries, the joy and happiness of every single Bunjevac Croat farming family upon the successful finishing of the harvest have been shared by all, both the family members and the reapers.
The celebration on the occasion of ending the harvest, the «dužijanca» was imbued with spiritual – religious dimension, giving thanks to God for the collected crop.
Owing to the efforts of Blaško Rajić, a priest in the St. Roka Church and the person who brought into life again and fostered the Bunjevac Croat cultural heritage, the “bandaš” and the “bandašica” (king and queen of the harvest) were selected for the first time on the city of Subotica level in 1911, a milestone, when Dužijanca became a public event.
Since 1968, the series of events related to the harvest: the competitions of reapers, the selection of «bandaš and bandašica», the assembly of reapers «skupština risara», the reapers’ night, the procession, decorating the shop windows, races, has been representing a tourist attraction not only for Subotica, but for its region, too.
Although part of our population was included in both church and civil Dužijanca commemorations, it should be noted as a basic indicator, that the former one was celebrated by believers only. The central part of the church celebration was the Holy Communion, while the civil-urban Dužijanca gathered those citizens who, for personal reasons, or due to the regime’s attitude towards the church, did not attend the church celebration on the occasion of completing the harvest.
Hence, the divided Dužijanca had been celebrated in two parallel tracks for 24 full years.
1993 is a year of crucial importance for the history of Dužijanca. The activists of the Bunjevačko kolo Cultural Association and the representatives of the church succeeded in approaching and uniting the church and civil celebration of Dužijanca. It was a thorough success. Thus, after more than eight decades, Dužijanca was a common commemoration again, united and enriched with new cultural contents.
Dužijanca is a specific expression of the entire set of spiritual and material values created by the Bunjevac Croats during their history in the region.