The anthem can be defined as: a patriotic song or melody that is officially accepted and performed at official events, as a sign of loyalty to the state.1 The anthem is an nonmaterial symbol whose performance evokes emotions and associations for various aspects of the state, such as sense of belonging, national pride and the like. The word anthem is taken from the Hellenic language and means a song of celebration. A song in honor of a god or a hero. In Christianity hymns are sung for the glory of God.

Hymns later became songs of praise to the king. In 1619, John Bull composed the song “God Save the King”, an anthem that is still the anthem of England and Great Britain. It is inspired by a religious hymn based on the Bible text of 1 Kings 1: 38-40, which is sung at all coronations since the coronation of King Edgar in 973.

The text of this hymn is entirely devoted to the character and work of the king (or queen), and does not mention the state at all. This is entirely in line with the medieval notion that the state is the property and inherent right of the king.

With the French Revolution of 1789, the notion of the sovereign, ie the bearer of sovereignty, was completely changed. Until the beheading of Louis XVI, all authority was placed by God on the crown of the king’s head. After this event, the people appear as the bearers of the sovereignty of the state. Hence the need for a national anthem, which will be dedicated to the glory of the state and the bearer of its sovereignty, the people.

The style of European anthems was set in 1795 when the French National Council declared Marseilles the official anthem of France. The song under the original title “War Song of the Rhine Army” was composed in 1793 in Strasbourg by Claude Joseph Rugget de Lisle.

Often the song itself is performed long before it gets official status. Thus, the Dutch anthem “Wilhelmus”, often written between 1568 and 1572, is often considered to be the oldest, but which gained official status only in 1932.

The anthem is often performed as an anthem, and it can receive official status much later. The anthem is performed before important events in the political, but also cultural and sports life. Often the raising of the flag is accompanied by the sounds of the anthem.

The anthem can be used on various occasions, often prescribed by law. It is performed on national holidays, festivals, international sports events and the like. At the Olympics, the national anthem of the gold medalist is always performed. In some countries the anthem is sung before the start of the first school hour in order to stimulate national feeling.

Anthem, in terms of an official song, in addition to the state, have other entities. Such are international organizations such as the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union, the Olympic Games, etc. Now the parties and even the municipalities have their official anthems, which are often called ceremonial songs.

The selection of the anthem has been taking place lately through public competitions, but traditionally, the anthem has been selected from songs and melodies that have already been announced. Some anthems gradually climb the ladder of formalization. The text of the US anthem is from the poem “The Defense of McHenry Fortress” written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, and the melody is taken from a popular English song composed by John Stadford Smith of London. The new song, better known as “Star Trek Flag”, has become very popular. It became the official song of the United States Navy in 1880, and President Widrow Wilson set it as the Presidential Anthem in 1916, and was proclaimed the Anthem of the United States on March 3, 1931.

Other hymns have long had the status of temporary hymns. Such is the case with the anthem of SFR Yugoslavia. The famous “Hey Slavs” was written in 1834 in Prague by the Slovak Samuel Tomaszek, to the tune of the Polish song “Poland is Still Not Lost” .2 With its all-Slavic character, it was quickly adopted by all Slavic peoples. Thus it became very popular in Yugoslavia between the two world wars.

It was performed as an anthem at the First Session of AVNOJ in Bihac on November 26, 1942, at the Second Session of AVNOJ in Jajce, on November 29, 1944 and at all official events, including those in Macedonia, starting from the first session of ASNOM held on August 2, 1944 in the monastery of St. Prohor Pchinski. With that, “Hey Slavs” becomes an integral part of the hymnography of Macedonia. Although widely accepted and performed as the anthem of the Yugoslav federation, it was only a temporary anthem.

An attempt was made in the early 1960s to change its text, but without success. In 1963, an attempt was made to replace it with an adaptation of the second paragraph of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, but this initiative of Edward Kardelj also did not work.
In 1968 and 1973, competitions were announced for the selection of the anthem of the SFRY. In both competitions, the Solemn Song by Macedonian composer Taki Hrisik was chosen as the best, but without a selected text. In the 1974 Constitution, Article 8 mentions the anthem for the first time, but does not specify the specific song.

The last competition for establishing a new anthem of SFRY in 1985 did not yield results again, so the Law on the Use of the Coat of Arms, Flag and Anthem of SFRY states that “Hey Slavs” is a temporary anthem of SFRY until the Assembly adopts a new anthem. Despite many attempts to find another, in 1988, with an amendment to the 1977 Constitution, “Hey Slavs” was declared the official anthem of the SFRY.3

The Yugoslav anthem was also sung at the constitution of the first multi-party assembly in 1990, after a long debate over which anthem the constituent assembly should begin with.4


2 becoming the anthem of Poland
4 Стенографски белешки.