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Renáta Bozsó - Angelika Nagy - Edit Újvári: Correlations between regional and local cultural heritage and local identity - assessment of the functions of collections of values in Vojvodina


Renáta Bozsó - Angelika Nagy - Edit Újvári:   Correlations between regional and local cultural heritage and local identity - assessment of the functions of collections of values in Vojvodina

Abstract: The paper analyzes the role of Hungarian cultural traditions in education, community building and the strengthening of local identity in the communities along the Tisza in Vojvodina, Serbia. Furthermore, it examines the operation and impact of a vital actor in this process, the Hungarian Repository of Values in Vojvodina. The paper wishes to illuminate the institutional framework within which the preservation and maintenance of local cultural traditions: what is the role of cultural institutions and local civil groups in this process? How does the Hungarian Repository of Values in Vojvodina, established in 2016, contribute to the endeavors of maintaining local traditions in the selected communities, where and how does this process being realized? Besides reviewing relevant literature, our methodology is based on website analysis and conducting interviews. Our interviewees are working in different capacities in the local cultural life of their communities, as leaders of cultural and educational institutions, who are all fulfilling vital roles in the preservation of Hungarian cultural values in the region.


With the support of the Community Culture Scientific Research Program of the Naional Institute of Culture 2019–2020, we endeavoured to explore a community education theme. Szeged and the University of Szeged, including the Institute of Cultural Studies, are closely linked to the neighbouring area inhabited by Hungarians across the border. [1] On several occasions, researchers from Vojvodina have been involved in the work of the Identity Research Workshop of our Institute, which was established in 2007 and the current research group [2] also has three members from Vojvodina. Among the topics recommended by the NMI, our research program was primarily related to "the role and function of community education in the preservation of the Hungarian identity - across borders" and "the role of the Repository of Values and cultural heritage in community education and community building".

Our research area focused on the Tisza region, which is the northern part of the Vojvodina Autonomous Province within Serbia. In the course of the research, we selected cities and villages from the Tisza region, from the Bácska and Banát parts, in which Hungarians live in the majority or in a significant proportion. The studied settlements - Magyarkanizsa, Martonos, Törökkanizsa, Csóka, Zenta, Tornyos, Ada, Törökfalu, Óbecse, Péterréve, Törökbecse - all belong to the group of villages in the Tisza region [3]. Ethnographically, the Tisza region is to the south of the Hungarian border, in the northern part of Vojvodina, on the right bank of the lower course of the Tisza river, the broad name of the area stretching from Horgos to Titel is: "to date it has been the most Hungarian region of Bácska" (Ortutay 1982:297–298). The area is also included in the Hungarian Repository of Values of Vojvodina as a separate topic as a Hungarian value and natural environment abroad. The explanation is as follows: "The Tisza, which is generally considered to be the most Hungarian river, also flows in the most Hungarian part of Vojvodina, in the area with the largest proportion of Hungarian inhabitants. It plays a pivotal role in the lives of the people living here, and in the past it determined the entire lifestyle of the people even more: it provided food and employment, inspired folk poetry, kept traditions alive, and provided an eternal theme for the arts. No wonder that there is a saying along the river: Whoever drinks the water of the Tisza, his heart yearns for it." [4] A significant institution of the cultural heritage of the Tisza sub-region is the Zenta City Museum, whose permanent ethnographic exhibition "talks about the folk life of the market town of Zenta and the Hungarian people of the lower Tisza" (Nagy Abonyi 2004:5).

Our research aimed to explore the local cultural heritage, local values, and the relationship between community life and local identity in the investigated settlements. We investigated what kind of traditional cultural heritage had survived, and what new cultural aspirations had emerged in the community and cultural life of the settlements of the examined area in the past decade. Within what institutional framework are community and cultural traditions preserved, and what is the role of cultural institutions and local tradition preservation associations in this? Also, how does the Vojvodina Hungarian Collection of Valuable, established in 2016, contribute to the maintenance of traditions in the investigated settlements, where and how are awareness raised about the preservation and passing on values?

Apart from relying on the literature, our research method was to analyse websites and interviewes. Our interviewees were professionals working in the community and cultural life of the settlements in the region, managers and employees of cultural and cultural educational institutions and organizations, who are influential individuals of the cultural life of the local Hungarian community. With the help of the preparatory work of the Vojvodinian members of the study group, twenty-five semi-structured interviews and one round table discussion took place between January 17-20, 2020. The focal points of the data collection were the study of local values, preservation of traditions, community life, and the Vojvodina Hungarian Repository of Values. We assumed that local cultural education groups have an important role in the community life of the Hungarian population of the Tisza region in Vojvodina in preserving and shaping their identity.

1. The relationship between local cultural values and community identity

1.1. The fundamental concepts of the research

The historical heritage and special cultural tradition of each local area provide a basis for the survival of local culture and as a result, the formation of identity. That is why clubs, groups, and communities that foster local cultural traditions have a pivotal role in strengthening and expressing the identity of the population, as several research studies have highlighted (Hoppál 2010:7, Csurgó – Szatmári 2014). The commitment of the members of a community to their group, the collective identity, never exists "by itself", as Jan Assmann emphasizes (Assmann 1999:131). Identification with the community is realized in actions and lively relationships, so activity and taking part in community programs are of crucial importance.

In the conceptual system of cultural heritage, everything we call local tradition is connected to the concept of intellectual cultural heritage [5] adopted by the UNESCO General Assembly in 2003. "Intellectual cultural heritage can be any custom, description, form of expression, knowledge, skill - as well as a tool, product or cultural scene associated with it - which communities recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intellectual cultural heritage handed down from generation to generation, which is constantly recreated by communities, provides them with a common identity and a sense of continuity" (Csonka-Takács 2011:55). The Convention encourages the identification, documentation and registration of local heritage, providing access to it, passing related laws and using different forms of information dissemination and education.

Identity, which is closely related to culture, can be explored with multidisciplinary research programs, and many areas of social science analyze it form various aspects. Social psychology, the history of culture, ethnography, sociology and cultural anthropology all examine it, revealing its different features. The social psychological literature studying identity defines self-identity and identification with the group as an essential condition in the existence of the individual and in the structural functions of the society (Pataki 1997:514). Community culture and local traditions play a vital role in its formation, since for both the individuals belonging to the community and the group, "tradition is the cultural memory of the community, a memory storage that preserves the information necessary for the self-identification of the community" (Hoppál 2017:6). The local cultural heritage, local traditions and values are firmly intertwined with the area where they were formed, they also bear the uniqueness of the area (Czene 2002).

Since during our research we examined the community life of the Hungarian population of the area along the Tisza in Vojvodina, the cultivation of local values and traditions, and its impact on community identity, the recently conducted identity studies in the region were an important starting point. Based on several research results published in the 2000s, Róbert Badis emphasizes that the interviewed Hungarians primarily have a strong regional and local identity, i.e. they are connected to Vojvodina and their settlement the most, followed by their identification with the subregion (Bácska, Bánát, Szerémség) (Badis 2008:321–323). Our research also confirmed that, among the forms of community consciousness, the connection to the geographical area is particularly relevant for the Hungarians of Vojvodina. [6] The identification with the traditions of the given area is also significant in the bond to the place of residence, which is defined in the literature as spiritual heritage, which stands for the whole of intellectual goods, values and attitudes accumulated and owned by the community, including identity as well (Czene 2002).

1.2. Fostering cultural traditions and local identity in Vojvodina

Ágnes Ózer, who studied the spiritual heritage and identity creation processes of the Hungarians in Vojvodina in the historical dimensions of the 20th century, emphasized that after the acquisition of the autonomy of Vojvodina, the reinforcement of the cultural identity could be witnessed since the 1950s. The increase in the level of education and literacy of Vojvodina Hungarians provided a basis for the strengthening of local identity and the conscious preservation of local traditions and customs. Its literary history has been written, and expert historians have discussed its past and continue to discuss it. Thus, the Hungarians of Vojvodina had their own past, got their own life, and could irrevocably seize their intellectual heritage including the share laid upon them" (Ózer 2008:593). In addition to education and research institutions, the cultural life that preserves and maintains the values of local folk traditions also plays an important role. Attila Pejin classifies folk traditions as forms of manifestation and confirmation of the collective memory of Vojvodina, including the intellectual cultural heritage of customs and word of mouth, as well as architectural heritage (sites, buildings, memorials, statues) and the regular celebration of anniversaries and important days, the use of related symbols and badges (Pejin 2008:111). The cultural institutions and civil groups operating in the settlements of Vojvodina inhabited by Hungarians take on the fostering and preservation of local Hungarian traditions and values, and the awareness of the importance of spiritual and built heritage, that is why their work is pivotal in terms of the survival of local Hungarian culture. Our research focused on their efforts.

Vojvodina Hungarians have already been examined by many from different perspectives. This is well illustrated by the two volumes published by the Hungarian Cultural Institute of Vojvodina in 2007 and 2008, enumerating religious, historical, ethnographic, literary and educational writings. [7] In addition to local collections and local history publications [8], a good example of recent initiatives to take stock of local values is the Zenta College, established in 2015 by the Lakitelek Folk High School, which conducted empirical research in the settlements of Zenta village. The co-organizer of this College, István Fodor, was also among our interviewees. In the volume Zenta Kollégium, edited by István Fodor and Ádám Hágen, the interviewees were inhabitants of Zenta, who volunteered to foster local traditions that bear values. The research took place within the framework of expansion of the Repository of Hungarian Values Abroad. The values exploration program in Zenta coordinated by the Lakitelek Folk High School was in line with the Act of 2012 on Hungarian national values (Fodor – Hágen 2016).

1.3. The repositoty

"The indirect - non-objectifiable and objectifiable - community values of the repository movement can serve as an additional model for any larger or smaller community. Such is identity, hospitality, civil courage, pride, tolerance, entrepreneurship, cooperation and many other useful human manifestations, which are most evidently revealed in the power of cooperation." (Értékekre hangolódva 2016:29.)

In Hungary in the 2000s, a movement to summarize and categorize the values of Hungarians was launched, which became known as the "Hungaricum movement". Its main goal is to collect the values of the Hungarian nation and arrange them in a repository providing their registration and protection, as well as the possibility of preservation for posterity. From the beginning, the movement emphasizes that values are part of national identity, but at the same time, the preservation and popularization of our traditions can bring about touristic and economic/foreign trade benefits (Értékekre hangolódva 2016:26). Based on the professional and legal category of cultural heritage protection conventions and laws, on April 2, 2012, the Parliament adopted the Act on Hungarian National Values and Hungarian Heritage. The law does not define an independent concept of value, it uses the conceptual framework of national value.

"national value: the history of our nation, as well as all spiritual and material, natural, community values or products accumulated and preserved in the recent past, related to the activities, production culture, knowledge, traditions of the Hungarian people and the nationalities forming the Hungarian state, their production culture, knowledge, traditions, the Hungarian landscape and wildlife, and the landscape value, which includes material or immaterial assets related to the landscape and the fauna and flora, which reflects the historical relationship between a human community and the given area" (Regulation XXX of 2012 § 1 (1))

The law rules about the identification and classification of national values, identifies the values of different categories (local, regional), Hungaricums, the concept of the repository and the committee of the repository. The collection of value is not centrally organizes, but takes place at the local level. For the community of a settlement, the local values that were part of the daily life of the ancestors are of crucial importantance. These values are particularly important and pivotal to the inhabitants of the settlement, that is why they make sure that their children and grandchildren also get to know them and claim them as their own. Any value that is important to the local people can be included in the repository of the settlement or region, thus could become a national value. For each value, a proposal must be submitted to the committee in charge. In the bottom-up pyramid system of values, the first level is the repository of values of the settlement or region.

"settlement repository: a collection containing data on national values found in the territory of the local government" (2012. évi XXX. tv. 1.§ (1)) regional repository:  A collection containing the data of the values declared as regional values by the given the Regional Repository  Committee from among the national values that can be found in several neighboring settlements based on geographical, historical or ethnographic aspects, or in the territory of a landscape unit that forms a unit based on geographical, historical or ethnographic aspects" (2012 Act XXX. 1 .§ (1)). In the case of cross-border values, following the example of the practice in Hungary, the national values in the settlement 6 regional repositories abroad the must be submitted to the Repository of Hungarian Values Abroad (Értékekre hangolódva 2016:53–55). The second level of the system is the entry of national values recorded in the county, sectoral or the cross border repository of values into the Hungarian Repository of Values. In parallel with the inclusion in the Hungarian Repository of Values, the national value becomes an outstanding national value. On the third level of the system, at the top of the pyramid, there are the Hungaricums.  [9] The legal background for the establishment of Hungarian Repository of Values Abroad is Act LXXX of 2015. It was made possible by the amendment of Act XXX of 2012 on Hungarian national values and Hungarian heritage. With the coordination of the Department of Hungaricums of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Hungarian state also announced the possibility that Hungarian values from across the border in the Carpathian Basin could be included in the database of the then-still-developing repository. The Hungarian Parliament decided that the cross-border organizations participating in the Hungarian Permanent Conference (MÁÉRT) can establish an independent, foreign repository of national values in their own country, as well as an independent committee to operate them. In 2015 and 2016, the HUNG-15 and HUNG-16 tenders of the Department of Hungaricum Department of the Ministry of Agriculture supported the strengthening of the collection of national values abroad.  [10]  The permanent professional partner of the Vojvodina Hungarian Repository Committee is the Hungarian Institute of Culture inVojvodina, which performs the administrative tasks of the committee and keeps contact with the local and regional repository committees, in accordance with the basic principle of the Hungaricum movement. [11]

2. Research results, analyses

In our research, interviews conducted in the field about the work of local cultural groups played a pivotal role (see Appendix, Figure 5). We asked two members of our research group, professionals working in the media and culture in Vojvodina, who, with local and institutional background knowledge, selected the interviewees first according to professional guidelines then using the snowball method. Among them there were young, middle-aged and elderly people, economically active and retired, men and women, who show diversity in terms of their current or former occupations (ranging from furniture painters or bank clerks, nursery teachers, teachers to shop assistants and accountants or even chemical engineers and electricians). There are people who live and work in small and large settlements, in blocks and in diasporas. What they have in common is that they are Hungarians born in Vojvodina, who have typically been connected to a branch of folk art since their childhood and, in most of their free time, carry out their activities free of charge, let it be running the association, playing folk music, collecting, teaching dance or even running a heritage house museum. Some of them are founders or members of the local committee of the repository of national values, others - even if they know about the existence of the Vojvodina Hungarian Repository of the Hungarian Values - carry out the work of saving and preserving values completely independently. 25 interviewees [12] – quoting István Fodor [13] – belong to the yeast that animates the local community and traditions (see Appendix, Figure 5).

2.1. Demographic and nationality ratios 

In recent decades, one of the main motives of the research on Hungarians in Vojvodina has been the survival of the minority, its demographic characteristics, its decrease in numbers, and agingIn addition to the low fertility indicators, the reason for the population decrease, which can also be shown statistically, is emigration for the the purpose of making a better living, international migrationThese symptoms are not only characteristic of Hungarians along the Tisza, but their indicators are further worsened by the gradual assimilation observed as a result of mixed marriages.

"Even in Csóka, when we walk down the street, it's a depressing sight, every third or fourth house in some streets is uninhabited." (Erika Kiss Tóth, president of the Móra Ferenc Hungarian Cultural Association, Csóka)

"I really don't understand it, when they bombed us, they really shot us from all directions, then I must say thatvonly two young people left. Now, families leave on a monthly basis, with two or three children...and move out...and sell their house" (Frigyes Ugyonka Tóth, executive president of the Endre Ady Cultural Association, Tornyos)

2.1.1. Population trends, emigration

The most recent census in Serbia was in 2011, and the municipalities that included the settlements we examined [14] had a total of 150,000 inhabitants, 56% of whom were Hungarians [15]. This is already a lower population compared to the previous census of 2002, for example, in the case of settlements belonging to the municipality of Zenta, this decrease was an average of 11.5% (Fodor 2016), and since then it has continued to decrease apparently. [16] Our interviewees reported that the number of children in their locality, including the number of Hungarian children, has decreased tragicly, which threatens not only the opening of Hungarian classes, but also the supply of Hungarian-speaking children and youth art groups. Even where there are still enough young children, the general tendency is for them to commute from villages to high school in other settlements, often leaving the group then. Not to mention the fact that the university attracts the majority even further away, from where they almost only come home to visit. As adults, even if they do not move to another country, a large number of them commute on a daily basis across the border to work in Hungary This reduces their free time and they cannot be actively involved in local processes.

"when secondary school comes, there is a big scattering, especially now, because a lot of people go to Szeged to study in high school, and after that, even if they stay, then the university comes, then there is a big scattering again" (Ágnes Tóth, Tisza President of the Folk Dance Association, Magyarkanizsa)

However, today's guardians of values almost without exception emerged from these groups, and stood at the head of their organization, institution and thus of the local tradition preservation movement. This demographic decline, which we are experiencing, has left us rather exhausted mentally," summarized István Fodor in the interview to us, pointing out that among the people who remain in the area, there are few who are committed to traditions and are able to actively participate in saving value. The respondents experienced several obstacles to the latter.  On the one hand, current guardians of values typically perform this activity voluntarily, which fewer and fewer people can afford given the increasing socially bound time and rising retirement age. On the other hand, there are few people left in the settlements who have the skills for the given form of art form, ready to take challenges, who are creative, good at organizing and are able to write tenders or write e.g. official registration of values.

The local professionals do everything they can to encourage young people to stay (they write applications to tenders, obtain foundation grants, the Hungarian government also offers many tender opportunities), but they themselves see that "national identity cannot be stronger than daily bread" [17]. Vojvodina Hungarians who go abroad do not return to their homeland, with only one or two exceptions. Their identity thus becomes even more complex, they become a voluntary minority from an indigenous minority And although they send nostalgic comments under each photo uploaded to social media sites, they no longer actively participate in the creation or preservation of traditions and values. In the more fortunate settlements, you can still find a nucleus, the "yeast that keeps the village alive", the bellwether who "leads the flock", [18] but they are typically older, who themselves worry about who they will hand over their own tasks to after a timeIn the settlements, the average age is already well over 40 (Fodor 2016), which is often even higher among amateur artists.

"Among the tambourists, I'm almost the youngest, but... I'm already 57 years old too. I think the average age of the women's choir here is around 70. Amongst the tambourists there is man who plays the bass, who is 76 years old" (Frigyes Ugyonka Tóth, executive president of the Endre Ady Cultural Association, Tornyos)

Emigration and aging threaten the survival and values of Hungarian culture across the border. On the one hand, because, as we have seen, there are fewer and fewer people left who could pass values on, and on the other hand, the community loses value not only with people who die, but also with every person who emigrates.

"when a person emigrates, we already lose value, not only the person himself, but the knowledge they take with them.  There are customs that have disappeared because there is no one to carry them on." (Tamás Varga, cultural referent of VMMI, president of VMÉB, Zenta)

However, there are also examples that it is the participation in the fostering of traditions and community life that makes families stay.

"...there is a family that stayed in Ada and stayed in their homeland exactly because their children did not want to leave Vadvirág." (Lívia Varga, president of the Vadvirág Traditional Preservation Circle, Ada)


2.1.2. Nationality ratios 

We can simply say that Hungarians live in larger blocks in Bácska, which lies on the right side of the Tisza, and they are scattered on the left side of the river, in the Banát part. [19] The rates differ from settlement to settlement and they are constantly changing, on the one hand due to the emigration discussed about, and on the other hand, because of mixed marriages. In general, it can be said that the coexistence of the Hungarian and Serbian populations is now free of conflics. Where the Hungarian population makes up the majority of the population, the majority of Serbs understand and speak Hungarian (while the Hungarians may not learn Serbian), they respect each other's holidays, but they run separate groups and organize separate events. The children do not mix either, in fact, while in the past they learned each other's language while playing together, this is not typical nowadays. The majority of children born in mixed marriages speak both languages.

"Ada is a special village, even to this day, almost 90% of the inhabitants Hungarian, and this means a great difficulty for the Serbs who settle here, because here, as they say, you either get used to it or escape, that is, they either learn Hungarian or they leave. " (Éva Sóti, artistic director of the Aranykapu Cultural Association, Ada)

"We live in such an environment that this neighbor is Serbian and that neighbor is Serbian as well, so it is essential. I think that among the Hungarians here in the Banat region, also in Törökkanizsa, … if there are three Hungarians in a group and one Serb, we still certainly speak Serbian" (Magdaléna Kovács, president of the Tiszagyöngye Cultural Association, Törökkanizsa)

"apart from children living in mixed marriages, Hungarian children do speak Serbian at all, and Serbian children cannot Hungarian at all There is no common meeting point, there are no places or events where they would be present together" (Erika Nadrljanski Tornai, director of the Cnesa Institute of Education and Culture, Magyarkanizsa)

„sok a vegyes házasság, több a magyar lány, szerb férjhez megy, kevesebb a fordított… az esetek többségében, nem lehet azt mondani, hogy mindig, elhagyják a magyart” (Szerda András, a Petőfi Sándor Magyar Kultúrkör Botra férfi kórusának a vezetője, népzenész, Óbecse) "there are many mixed marriages, more Hungarian girls marry Serbians, less the other way around... in the majority of cases, it cannot be said that they always leave the Hungarian" (András Szerda, leader of the men's choir of the Petőfi Sándor Magyar Kultúrkör Botra, folk musician, Óbecse)

In ethnically mixed families, holidays are celebrated by both parties (maintaining a form of expression of the previously mentioned collective memory), but their children - especially where the father is of Serbian nationality - prefer to attend Serbian classes in order to be better off if they stay in the country. Within the Hungarian national minority, our interviewees perceive unity to be stronger in scattered areas, while where Hungarians are in the majority, they report disunity, lack of unity and cooperation. Children and young people who attend local associations and spend a significant part of their free time together are an exception to this. They bond and form lifelong friendships. This cooperation and mutual assistance also works between adult ensembles and members. Last but not least, relationships and love are interwoven within these communities, and the children born from these relationships often follow the example of their parents, they are dancing, singing or even organizing the local cultural life themselves. This also draws attention to the particularly important local amateur artistic activity.

"which makes me proud is that the Wildflowers know each other.  A closely-knit team, we hear this from the teachers at the school, that they help each other there as well" (Lívia Varga, president of the Vadvirág Traditional Preservation Circle, Ada)

band, I dont know, one of our bassists got sick.  " Sometimes there are two, sometimes there isn't any. I'm calling the Csantavérians, are you available? Yes.  Are you coming? Yes, of course! What do I owe? You'll help me back!. It's been three months. The phone rings on Friday night. What are you doing tomorrow? I have no idea!  Come with us, we're going to Új-Bezda!" (Frigyes Ugyonka Tóth, executive president of the Endre Ady Cultural Association, Tornyos)

"Young people who started dancing together at the Golden Gate are still friends to this day, they help each other, they go to midnight masses together, now the little children are on the way, so this is a fantastic thing..." (Éva Sóti, artistic director of the Golden Gate Cultural Association, Ada)

„several marriages were formed in the group, so they danced together and, well, now they live together.  " There are also children, children come here to dance" (László Ilia, executive secretary of the Jókai Mór Hungarian Cultural Association, Törökbecse)

2.2. Community life, preservation of cultural traditions 

The interviews clearly outline the awareness of maintaining local values, emphasizing the power of community cohesion and the goal of staying in the homeland. Both institutional and civil cultural groups foster many forms of spiritual cultural heritage: for instance, women's choir, folk dance, zither and tambourine bands, needlework, literary and local history groups. The preservation of traditions is closely related to everyday life, community life, and experiences, and the professionals who organize local cultural life are also raise awareness of this.

"We deal with the preservation of the cultural heritage of the Hungarian national community, i.e. the preservation, fostering and collection of the heritage found in the village of Ada, and our motto is: Giving our children, the heritage of our parents." (Éva Sóti, artistic director of the Golden Gate Cultural Association, Ada)

"[about the Törökbecse Teleház, which has been operating for two decades]. From the start, the goal was to unite the community, organize the community and the unity of the communities is included in these commemorations and community days..." (Tibor Báló, President of the Rákóczi Association, Törökbecse)

„... there was always a need for such a venue, where the Hungarian population is in the majority... where we can actually foster culture and art. Most recently, in the 90s, the Petőfi Cultural Circle was relaunched to satisfy this need of the Hungarian population,in order to enrich it with culture and programs for Hungarians." (Folk dance teacher Balázs Cseszák, Sándor Petőfi Cultural Circle, Óbecse)

"... providing the Hungarian citizens living in the village of Zenta with education, creating community spaces where everyone can express their opinions and and bcome active, ... providing high culture and folk culture." (Richárd Hugyik, director of the Thurzó Lajos Cultural and Educational Center, Zenta)

"...we will revive the traditions along the Tisza. And here are the folk customs, our folk song treasure, the folk dance.... and we also mentioned the folk music.  making them feel good there, togetherness, staying in their homeland is the point". (Lívia Varga, president of the Vadvirág Traditional Nursing Circle, Ada)

"...Traditions should not be read from books or taken from the Internet, but should be incorporated into our days." (Erika Kiss Tóth, president of the Móra Ferenc Hungarian Cultural Association, Csóka)

The traditional programs organized for children (workshops, camps, competitions, folk dance groups, etc.) are diverse, for example a coloring book was created for the very little ones in Zenta  "with the aim that the children get to know the value of local characteristics, buildings, and symbols at a young age" (Director Kornél Laskovity, Zenta Village Touristic Organization, Zenta)

At the same time, many factors work against the success of this mission. The difficulties of passing on the intellectual cultural heritage were also expressed by our interviewees, it is difficult to involve the younger age group, even though the transmission and survival of the values and traditions depend on this.  The already mentioned emigration from the homeland is an especially big problem.

" we announce that there is a workshop in the association, without avail, as the children don't come. When we go to the school, they are very welcoming and they are happyly work and do handicrafts." (Erika Kiss Tóth, president of the Móra Ferenc Hungarian Cultural Association, Csóka)

"...There is no supply, because the young people leave the settlement to study elsewhere in high school at the latest." (Rozália Tóth, Ferenc Móra Hungarian Cultural Association, Csóka)

They also strive to exploit local values for tourism in several places. Of course an appropriate institutional framework and professionals are essential for this. For example, a Tourist Organization also operates in Zenta, which builds on the tourist attraction of programs based on folk traditions, as well as the Battle of Zenta, which has been celebrated as a town day since 1997, on the occasion of its 300th anniversary, [20] besides strengthening local patriotism, it was converted into a "touristic product".

"The point is to attract as many ... tourists to Zenta as possible ... every territorial unit had its own traditions, its own customs, and this can provide a marketing tool for tourism, that, yes, we can show ourselves with pleasure and as a colorful spot. (…) Here, I think that the Tisza flower festival, as well as the town day, is an event when people like to invite their friends and show that this... this is what we have. This is our event. So I say that there is a kind of community-building role and character of these events." (Kornél Laskovity, director, Zenta Village Touristic Organization, Zenta)

"The association was founded in 2010... our goal was to reorganize cultural life in each Hungarian-inhabited area.. …. the preservation of different values. I'm thinking here of the historical values that are important to us, Vojvodinians. We operate a memorial house and in the future we want to deal more seriously with rural, that is, village tourism." (Nándor Újhelyi, founding member of the Törökkanizsaért Association, Törökkanizsa)

In settlements with a Hungarian majority, living together with Serbian residents and maintaining cultural relations is obvious, and some of our interviewees expressed their experiences in this regard, as well as the importance of community programs that strengthen peaceful coexistence. All of this is particularly important in the center of the region, Zenta, where, in addition to Hungarians, a significant number of Serbs live.

"Great concerts in Hungarian and Serbian are organized. There is a kind of fun part of it, but there is a kind of community unifying force that is over the conflicts, and here the Hungarian and Serbian speaking population as well... so this is a typical common program of Zenta that rises above the linguistic and national differences. " (Richárd Hugyik, director of the Thurzó Lajos Cultural and Educational Center, Zenta)

"...not only in Hungarian, but also in Serbian... We try to pay attention to the well-known holidays of both nationalities." (Éva Kobrehel, director of the Csóka Cultural and Educational Center, Csóka)

However, in smaller settlements, it is not typical for Hungarians and Serbs to visit each other's events, except when a there is a famous speaker performing.

2.3. Local identity

In line with the results of previous identity research, the local identity of our interviewees is strong and firm, and the bond of the Banát region to Szeged was also shown. The historical background of the disintegration of Yugoslavia was also mentioned as the background for the strengthening of regional and local identity of Vojvodina at the end of the 20th century. In addition to the family background and school education, the importance of fostering traditions, folk dance and setting personal example in strengthening Hungarian identity was also highlighted. Therefore, it can be concluded that community life and the preservation of traditions are of crucial importance in the studied region, all of which strongly contribute to the preservation and survival of the Hungarian identity of Vojvodina. Almost without exception, those interviewees who were (also) active in the cultural field mentioned a cultural bond formed in their early childhood. That is why they are concerned about mixed marriages, families moving abroad and the decrease in childbirth. Who carries on the traditions? What will happen to the preservation of tradition and identity in the long run?

"I consider Vojvodina and the Tisza River my home (...) we belong to the great Hungarian  Plain in terms of natural geography." (Richárd Hugyik, director of the Thurzó Lajos Cultural and Educational Center, Zenta)

"And for those from Bánát... Szeged is our capital, so to speak.  After all, right down to the Danube, after the expulsion of the Turks, this part was populated with settlers of Szeged origin, and actually we belong to Szeged in terms of dialect and religion as well" (Nándor Újhelyi, founding member of the Törökkanizsárt Association, Törökkanizsa)

"...this Tisza river area is where the Hungarian population is concentratedAnd this is the place where I feel so good. Along the Tisza. (...) what or who you idealize or consider as a role model, that is what can greatly contribute to the preservation of Hungarian culture, or Hungarian identity, or national identity." (András Szerda, leader of the Botra men's choir of the Sándor Petőfi Magyar Kultúrkör, folk musician, Óbecse)

 "There was no tradition of folk dance and folk music here in Ada... And in the 90s, I think the breakup of the country started in 91, and then somehow this Hungarian identity  somehow woke up in everyone." (Éva Sóti, artistic director of the Golden Gate Cultural Association, Ada)

2.4. The role and characteristics of the Vojvodina Hungarian Repository of Values

The legal background for the establishment of the Collections of Hungarian Values Abroad is LXXX of 2015. It was made possible by amendment of Act XXX of 2012 on Hungarian national values and Hungarian heritage. The preparatory work in Vojvodina was coordinated by Jenő Hajnal, the former director of the VMMI, during which experts from Vojvodina (ethnographers, specialists working in the cultural sector, biologists) proposed 64 values for the database of the Repository of Hungarian Values Abroad. The Vojvodina Hungarian Cultural Institute (VMMI) operating in Zenta is the professional background institution for tasks related to the Vojvodina Repository of Hungarian Values. The professional support of the Vojvodina Repository of Hungarian Values matches the wide-range of activities of the VMMI, which is also fully in line with the previously formulated objective of the meeting of the Cultural Expert Committee of the MÁÉRT, May 2005. Accordingly, they called for the establishment of a Hungarian cultural institute in all regions of the Carpathian Basin, including Vojvodina, whose task, among other things, is to present cultural values and to do research into and document the culture of the national community.


2.4.1. Foundation of the Repository of Values in Vojvodina

The Zenta-based VMMI, managed by Martina Gondi, also submitted an application for the HUNG-16 call for tenders. As a result, the Vojvodina Hungarian Archives Committee (VMÉB) was established in June 2016, chaired by Tamás Varga, a theater specialist and cultural coordinator of the VMMI.

They created rules of operation and also decided which of the 64 values included in the Collection of Hungarian Values over the borred would be assigned to be put on the higher levels of the national value pyramid. [21]  They believed that, for instance, the royal and archbishop castle in Bács, the church ruins in Arac or the triumph of Nándorfehérvár and the Noon Bell could become an outstanding national value or Hungarian heritage. The task of the committee was to encourage and professionally assist the work of the local treasure troves, as well as to organize the identification of national values, and to decide on the national values of the segment of nation over the border to be included in the treasure trove. The VMÉB website (ertektar.rs) was created by the tender and the "Around the countryside"(„Kerek e vidéken”), a contest aimed at presenting and popularizing the values of Vojvodina, was launched for primary and secondary school students, furthermore, some publications were published (see Appendix, Figures 3-4).

In a round table discussion we interviewed the members of the working group of the VMMI treasure trove about the work of the committee and the activities of the movement of the treasure trove. [22] The professional conditions for the efficient operation of the repository of values are provided by the VMMI in cooperation with the Vojvodina Hungarian Cultural Association. As a provincial institution, they maintain contact with associations and institutions belonging to the Hungarian national minority that are active in the field of community culture, public collections or science. The activity related to the repository is only one segment of the wide-range of tasks of the institute, but it is also a good opportunity, since in this way they can help those associations that carry out voluntary work in tradition preservation in each settlement. Of the eleven employees of VMMI, three employees currently perform tasks in the working group of the repository of values. Besides Tamás Varga, Csilla Vázsonyi has been in charge of the repository since 2015 in addition to her duties as a librarian, and she is also responsible for communication. Viktor Fehér, a doctoral student majoring in ethnography, has been involved in value collection as an external colleague since 2018, unfortunately it is not possible to employ him full-time at present. Csilla and Viktor jointly edit and maintain the website, as well as the Facebook page of the Repository, and manage incoming nominations. They primarily perform operational tasks, they are responsible for the operation of the database and the promotion of the value preservation program. They do fieldwork several times a month, trying to convince local communities and tradition fostering professionals to join the program. They provide assistance to local professionals and volunteers to search for, describe and record the values.

"Viktor and Csilla are the professionals of the project, while Martina and I are trying to embed this whole issue so that we can make the cycle of this process smoother." (Tamás Varga, cultural referent of VMMI, president of VMÉB, Zenta)

2.4.2. Operation of the Repository

In practice, there are basically two ways to search for values: either VMMI gets into contact with the local community, and as a result of the personal meeting(s), settlement repository committees are set up, or an inquiry or intention to participate comes from the settlement. Among the settlements investigated by the research group, in the case of Péterréve and Tornyos, recommendations were added to the repository according to the latter procedure. A young man from Péterrév volunteered and enquiredhow his own settlement could join the process of the collection of values. After the professional guidlines of the staff of VMMI, he involved five or six local people and created a small committee to take stock of the values of the settlement. And in Tornyos, a handicraft kindergarten teacher who maintains the local heritage house museum learned about the activities of the repository during a training held at the VMMI and asked for the help of the staff. [23]

"This is the first a heritage house museum in Tornyos. ... then it occured to me that apart from the heritage house museum, there are other value here in Tornyos, why not include and map them as well ... and so, I gathered a team, ... Well, that's when I called Viktor and Csilla, that in my opinion this needs to be established, and that it needs a nest somewhere, so that the repository should be aware of its centre, we organize it here, we do it here, so in some form it I wanted to achieve, that is, I still want to achieve, that it could unite the village. So that no one should feel that, because we dominate, and they stand aside and back. We have to cooperate." (Magda Szabó, founder of the Magda-lak heritage house museum, Tornyos)

During the fieldwork, the coordinators of the VMMI are constantly confronted with the fact that, although the local communities have already heard about the repository, according to the database the local repository committee was formed, but at the same time, they do not know the process of the collection of values, and no proposals are sent for the database.

"It very often happens that the formal background of this is unknown to the locals and it is difficult to convey the set rules to them that are common to us". (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

The establishment of the local treasury committees was very sudden and unprepared in several places thanks to the above-mentioned tender opportunity announced by the Ministry of Agriculture.

"When this twin-city tender opportunity was announced in 2016, the Hungarian settlements having a twin-city in the Carpathian Basin with a repository of values could apply, then within two days, about more than ten repositories were created in a way that the settlements didn't even know what the repository committee they were creating was about" (Gondi Martina, Director of the VMMI, Zenta)

During personal meetings, the coordinators try to make people aware that everything that is of value to the local people is also of value from the point of view of the program. At every meeting, the locals are encouraged to decide what is important to them. The NMI and the Lakitelek Folk High School have defined a classification system based on the Hungarian law, but the the staff have experienced during field work, that it is easier for the locals to collect the activities and tangible memories they consider valuable and essential based on their own experiences rather than the categories of the classification system. (Értékekre hangolódva 2016).

In the process of value collection and value preservation, attention must also be drawn to the inseparable relationship between people and value. In the course of their work, the value repository committees primarily focus on values: finding, documenting and saving value for the next generations is of primary importance to them. At the same time, it should not be forgotten that the person himself is the main value in the process of value preservation.

"So the person who deals with value. If the person who deals with the value does not exist, the value will not be valuable either, then it will be just a ruin, a dough. So the importance of those people who classify value as value is od key importance in this respect.” (Tamás Varga, cultural referent of VMMI, president of VMÉB, Zenta)

"... for example, I build on the fact that those who undertake some kind of voluntary activity in their settlement are bound emotionally to their settlement... the village can benefit from this." (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

The advantage of the repository is that it highlights the work of people who deal with fostering tradition and value preservation.. In this way, they can feel that their activities are important, not only for the repository, but also for their own settlement and subregion.

"... they already carry out value preservation and value collection to some extent, so we just want to use a new concept for their work and evaluate what they do by it." (Martina Gondi, director of VMMI, Zenta)

It is easier to reach local communities and people if they know the program or have heard about it, therefore the staff in the field try to popularize the concept of the repository, using the opportunities provided by the written press and Pannon TV.

"We cooperate with the Hét Nap weekly newspaper ... and every other week a series of so-called value registers or value accounts is published, a two-page article in which we present a settlement and one value of the  settlement, and this way we draw the attention to the given settlement and the given value. Furthermore, we have the Pannon Television, in which a short block also appears"[24] (Viktor Fehér, external employee of VMMI, coordinator of VMÉB, Zenta)

In Vojvodina, there is still rivalry between neighboring settlements, which is taken into account by the staff:

"and we often play  what is called rátótiada in ethnography. So there is always some tension between two neighboring Hungarian-Serbian or Hungarian-Hungarian settlements.And if they realize that the values have been collected in a database in the neighboring village, then, they want to do the same." (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

The regional repository of values (Értékekre hangolódva 2016:46) could also strengthen the common identity of the Tisza region and Vojvodina Hungarians.

An effective means of communicating with the settlements and providing information is the website [25] and Facebook page [26] of the Vojvodina Repository of Hungarian Values as well as regular telephone inquiries. Despite the extensive communication network, the staff of VMMI believe, that there may still be settlements where they have not heard about the repository. During the 25 interviews conducted by the research group, only one interviewee had not heard about the repository at all, three interviewees stated that although they had already heard of it, there was no connection between their organization and the Vojvodina Hungarian Treasury, and one person stated that they had already heard of the treasure trove, but does not have any information regarding the operation of the program. Based on our research results, it can be concluded that the organizational work so far has been effective in generall.

2.4.3. Advantages and operational difficulties of the Vojvodina Hungarian Repository of Values

During the field work, the coordinators emphasize the advantages of being connected to the repository. There are many communities, even whole settlements that never appear in the media or on the Internet. The repository offers the opportunity to appear in the media and on the Internet in the ways mentioned above. Vojvodina had a long tradition of publishing settlement monographs in the 1960s and 1970s.. At this time, not all the settlements had the opportunity to publish a volume of local history. For settlements that do not have a monograph, joining the repository is a good option.

"And what is now a new idea, and in which the institute is now supporting us, is that every settlement where values were proposed should have their own booklet. " (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

Another advantage of joining the repository, which the field workers always draw attention to when promoting the program during conversations with the communities, is to use the values of the settlements as tourist attractions. Visitors to the settlement can easily find out what is worth seeing based on the database of the repository.

. "... when a stranger arrives in a settlement, he doesn't know what to look at.  And if there is a surface for the collection, you can search for them… The repository is very well supported by Google. If we search for , e.g.  the settlement of Péterréve, then the 3-4th in the list is the site ertektar.rs, which ensures that a lot of things about the village can be read in Hungarian." (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

At the same time, despite the potential opportunities of the repository movement and the activity of the committee, the activities, operation, and collection process of local repositories in Vojvodina face difficulties. According to the staff of VMMI one of the main reasons for this is the lack of human resources. The problem is complex, it appears both at the professional support level in the background and at the local, settlement level. In most settlements, value preservation is carried out as voluntary work, besides a full-time job, or in their free time. It is difficult to find people who not only committed to the collection of values, but can also devote time to it.

"... either there aren't people like that, or we haven't found them ... the active people through whom this minimum of three people can come together and form [the local repository committee]. we either did not find the person at the right time, or we really did not find the right person." (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

"It is absolutely up to the individuals whether or not a repository is created in a settlement so it depends on one or maximumt two people who see something in the idea of having a local repository. And everyone has their own quirks, such as the collector in Tornyos, who created a a heritage house museum.... the point is that these individual ideas should not remain individual, but that the community should stands behind them. Sometimes it's even difficult to bring these people together who form the local repository committee and say that yes, we think this is also a value". (Csilla Vázsonyi, VMMI librarian, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

At the round table discussion held during the research, it was emphasized that in the case of VMMI and VMÉB, the lack of human resources makes value preservation activities difficult and negatively affects the continuity of work. There is a great need for info-communication specialits, because the colleagues who deal with operation and field work do not have that expertise, and yet, they are obliged to handle it, without extra payment.

"The Vojvodina Hungarian Cultural Institute is the largest and only supporter of the Vojvodina Repository Committee, because it pays the workforce within its own budget." (Tamás Varga, cultural referent of VMMI, president of VMÉB, Zenta)

"On the other hand, we also lack resources and human resources, so we often do not have the effort to keep continuous contact with each settlement. Because it is clear that, for example, in the case of Tornyos, where we invested time and energy, i.e. we travelled there four or five times, we took the manager of the a heritage house museum to Szeged [27], we presented his exhibition, so it can be seen that if we can invest a lot of energy in it, then it brings results .” (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

The third area, where the lack of human resources is evident and makes the work more difficult both for the staff of VMMI and the people fostering traditions settlements, is the lack of specialists for the value collection work.

"And by human resources, I don't just mean the people who move things, but we, who edit these portals, can see by experience that a settlement committee needs at least one local historian, who usually provides the basis for the texts by having already collected the famous things about his village or city. In addition to this, we also need an individual who is experienced in the civil sector and provides community coordinating activities related to the tenders, as well as a couple of wise men, old people, young people, and teachers who also contribute to its operation.) And in many settlements, if only one pillar is missing, that's enough." (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

The staff of the VMMI try to replace the role of the local historian in some places, they interview the collectors, and they entered the values in the database, but this requires a lot of work and energy.

The biggest obstacle to the Vojvodina repository movement is the lack of financial resources.  Apart from the provision of professional support and the organization of various programs for several generations that promote the value repository movement, the VMMI cannot finance the value collection process.

"We are not in a position to help the lives of these communities with subsidies. We can do this with free professional assistance. ... we also help them with where they can find special literature, or how they can ... utilize the existing values anywhere, at a festival, in their own environment." (Martina Gondi, director of VMMI, Zenta)

The Institutes of Culture in the Carpathian Basin and the VMMI itself organize several successful programs, not necessarily with the title "repository of values", but with similar content (Around this region, Through the Four Borders, Ordinary Heroes), in which young people and groups are involved and, in fact, they also do some kind of value collectection. In connection with this, the possibility of "appointing" student value guardians has also been suggested. In settlements where traditional community life works well anyway, value collection also works. Within the framework of the value repository movement, the NMI, the Hungarikum Department, and cultural institutes across the border organize several contests in the entire Carpathian Basin region. The effectiveness of these competitions in Vojvodina is significantly lower than that of VMMI's own competitions, because the call for the competition reaches a narrower circle. The value repositories abroad are not included in the communication of the central competition and competition calls, so only the more enthusiastic teachers or those with connections to Hungary are usually informed about the competitions. As a result, there are significantly fewer contestants from Vojvodina at the competitions than at the contests announced by the VMMI.

The National Institute of Culture provides professional assistance and holds training sessions for the employees of the value repository committees abroad, but the development of the cross-border strategy and working method is the task of the value repository committees over the border. In Vojvodina, it is the task of the VMMI to support organizations, since they have the appropriate local knowledge and the relationship capital (Értékekre hangolódva 2016:53–55). The background support provided by them does not only mean professional assistance and the provision of human resources, but also includes the development of the strategic and related methodological system. According to Tamás Varga and Viktor Fehér, the work between the levels is not properly coordinated in many respects: the Hungarian side should focus on the general strategy over the border, while the value repository committees abroad could develop their own local strategy and connect to the general strategy about of the regions of the Carpathian Basin.

As for Hungary, it is necessary to think about the cross-border areas, and a general strategy must be put together, which will then support those over the border." (Tamás Varga, cultural referent of VMMI, president of VMÉB, Zenta)

"As for us, locally, the strategy is created, but a strategy from above is necessary." (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

The VMMI and the VMÉB are in constant contact with other repositories abroad, Hungarian organizations and the Carpathian Basin Community Culture Round Table, whose members are cultural institutes across the border, and which at the same time coordinate the foreign repositories at the local level. The Upper Hungary Value Repository Committee highlighted the effective work of the specialists in Vojvodina among the repositories:

"There are cultural centers that are operated by the local government in several settlements or in the region, where the local government allocates significant financial resources." (Martina Gondi, director of VMMI, Zenta)

At the same time, the Transylvanian and Transcarpathian value repositories also works well, where many programs are organized (value repository festival, competitions, value repository camps). [28]

During our research in the settlements along the Tisza, the interviewees confirmed the problem outlined by the VMMI staff, according to which, in addition to the lack of human resources, the lack of time of those involved in the fostering of traditions also causes difficulties.

"... we were a little bit lagging behind in this, but that's our fault, because we didn't have that much time to deal with it, but we also want to propose a lot of things to the value repository. … I think this is a very good opportunity.” (Nándor Újhelyi, founding member of the Törökkanizsaért Egyesület, Törökkanizsa)

"I may be the only one who's not agile enough here, but the truth is that I deal with quite a lot and maybe I've taken a bit too much." (András Szerda, leader of the men's choir of the Sándor Petőfi Magyar Kultúrkör Botra, folk musician, Óbecse)

"We haven't entered values yet, we don't have the capacity for that. So, there are no human resources, after that, and we didn't even invest in it, this is the other thing, that we didn't even put much emphasis on it." (Ágnes Tóth, president of the Tisza Mente Folk Dance Association, Magyarkanizsa)

. "... there would be so much material, so for me or for us, for example, at home, the Becs nativity play, the zither and the rest, you just have to sit down and write on these.  And this part bumps along (laughs).” (Balázs Szerda, leader of the Fokos band, Óbecse)


2.4.4. Development perspectives of the Hungarian Repository of Values of Vojvodina

According to the Vojvodina actors of the value repository movement, the lack of financial and human resources could be mitigated by building a permanent application system, and at the same time, the continuity and efficiency of the value collection work in the settlement should be supported.

"But they said that it would be possible to apply, and I am expecting the change from it, if there is really someone who is professional, so they are paid to go and write down the values, or analyze, collect or accept... if there was a permanent person who deals with this. Or if not permanent, but let's say he could receive a four-month assignment." (Kornél Laskovity, director, Zenta Village Tourism Organization, Zenta)

The adaptation of the Hungarian model to Vojvodina can only be realized at the project level, which would also require tender resources. The financial source itself would only help the operation of the system in the short run - this is clearly demonstrated by the rise in the establishment of settlement committees in 2016 - it is necessary to develop a method that can also provide the continuity of the value preservation work.

"The model that exists in Hungary, where the local governments are obliged to create a value repository committee and to operate them at some level, it is actually only possible here, at the project level, and it doesn't matter if we allocate ingenuity or money to it, but they do not remain on their own, because they simply need to be given some goal to work for.” (Martina Gondi, director of VMMI, Zenta)

At the current stage of creating the system, a realistic goal has been set, for the time being to reach the people in each settlement through whom a settlement repository can function, so that a regional repository can then be created. Then from there smaller centers could be built to reach geographically more distant settlements as well. The development of the website is also included in the medium- and long-term plans.

"The long-term goal is to have a multilingual portal that helps those interested to find out what is worth seeing in each settlement, who the notable natives of the settlement are, where local products could be bought, and what the most important events are." (Viktor Fehér, VMMI external employee, VMÉB coordinator, Zenta)

According to the plans, the current Hungarian reviews will always be included in an English translation (currently only the opening page can be read in English: http://ertektar.rs/en), but there are no plans for Serbian version. The long-term vision of VMÉB also includes to promote the possibility that after the values are taken into account, it would be good to use them, so they could be extended not only to tourism, but also to trade and other economic areas.

"The logo of a value repository committee, if you find it on a certain product, because it is the value, from here onwards - if there was a kind of market for this too - then this could also be an incentive." (Tamás Varga, cultural referent of VMMI, president of VMÉB, Zenta)

3. Summary

"Because always, when we did it with grandma while cleaning, we said, 'Oh, take care of that, because it's I don't know what,' and then she always said, 'take care of that,' everything had to be taken care of. And then it stuck in my mind that you just had to take care of old things."

(Magda Szabó is the manager of the "Magda-lak" a heritage house museum in Tornyos)

The interviews of the research showed definite awareness, commitment and emotional motivation in the field of preserving and fostering traditions. It has been proven that, although in most settlements there are difficulties with the voluntary tradition preservation and cultural coordination work, the recommendation to the value repository involves documentation and administration, but where this happens, the recording of the value repository can contribute to the further preservation of the local cultural heritage and settlement values, raising awareness of their importance, makin them known and using them for tourism.

Based on the interviews, it can be concluded that having to raise the financial resources more sources every year takes a lot of time and energy of those who preserve traditions and values, which requires arrangements and makes planning difficult. For example, an average association operating in Vojvodina annually applies to the Hungarian National Council, the province, the municipal government, the National Cultural Fund, the Gábor Bethlen Fund, and even the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, while also collecting supporters from the motherland and other countries. Perhaps a more integrated and simpler support system covering support for cycles of several years could also be built. In addition, it would be necessary to employ one or two full-time employees for this purpose, who (either within the framework of the VMMI or attached to it) collect, coordinate and organize the values, value repositories and cultural events of the settlements of the area into a database, which it could then be used for various purposes, either for culturally based economic development (it could be the the introduction of a trademark or touristic activity). All this would strengthen the identity and keep more people in place, mitigating the frightening rate of emigration. Similarly, the involvement of young people is of crucial importance. It is not only through amateur artistic activity that they can be guided in the direction of traditions. In addition to programs aimed at involving children, the high school age group could be involved in the local value collection and preservation, the appointment of "student value guardian" is a forward-looking idea by the staff of VMMI.

Partly inspired by our research, at the initiative of one of the members of our research group, Lívia Barát Tóth, the Csókai Settlement Value Repository Committee was also established. Among the continuously updated news of the Hungarian Repository of Values in Vojvodina – Treasures of Vojvodina Facebook page, we can also read about the establishment of the Törökkanizsa Value Repository Committee in July 2020, so the collection of the Hungarian values in Vojvodina is in progress. [29] At the same time, the employees of the Committee of the Hungarian Repository of Values in Vojvodina pointed out that the digitization of local traditions and values is important and useful, but it cannot replace living, remaining traditions and real values. The person is the key factor. [30]


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  • Pejin Attila (2008): Lokális és/vagy nemzeti? In: Papp Richárd, Szarka László (szerk.): Bennünk élő múltjaink. Történelmi tudat – kulturális emlékezet. Zenta, Vajdasági Magyar Művelődési Intézet, 107–139. p.
  • Tóth G. Péter (2002): A „közösség”. Egy fogalom megalkotása, kiteljesedése, széthullása és felszámolása. In: Pócs Éva (szerk.): Közösség és identitás. Budapest -Pécs, L’Harmattan – PTE Néprajz Tanszék. 9–32. p.

 Sources about the treasury on the Internet: