Independence and Unity Day in Slovenia: December 26th

Independence Day is important for every country. Not only in historical matters, but also for nowadays generations. People who have experienced all the events regarding the struggle for freedom, still keep in mind the value of this day. On the other hand, it is highly important to remind people who they are.

Independence and Unity Day of Slovenia happens every 26 December, commemorating the official proclamation of the Slovenian independence after the referendum of 23 December 1990. On that day, almost 95% of the voters decided to live in the independent and sovereign nation, the Republic of Slovenia.

Young people often don’t value what they have already. This is normal because human nature is based on the will to move further to gain more than we have now. On the other hand, from the perspective of the whole nation, this can be harmful sometimes. The young generation can destroy everything that their parents and grandparents were striving for. Thus, such national days as the Independence and Unity Day are celebrated for reminding people what is valuable for the whole nation.


The independence referendum took place on 23 December 1990. At that time, it was supported by all the political powers of Slovenia. People were asked only one question “Should the Republic of Slovenia become an independent and sovereign state?”

In total, 94.8% of voters favored the answer “yes”. It was 88.5% of all the eligible voters if to count people who didn’t attend the referendum. The threshold for the validity of the plebiscite was 50%, thus the decision could be recognized as unanimous. Only 6.5% of electors did not participate, whereas 4.0% had voted “no”, 0.9% had cast invalid ballots, and only 0.1% had returned their ballots unused. 42,274 people couldn’t vote for several reasons. Some of them worked abroad, some were involved in the military service. Those people were not counted in the calculation of results.

The name of the national holiday was known as Independence Day (Dan samostojnosti) since 2005 when in September of that year, it was changed to Independence and Unity Day (Dan samostojnosti in enotnosti).

Slovenians celebrate the independence day quite typically. Firstly, everyone watches the live broadcast of the Central National Ceremony. Usually, there are official speeches by the President, poetry readings, and musical performances there.

After that, Slovenians celebrate either at the festival with friends or at homes with families. They share traditional dishes like potica, struklji, idrija zlikrofi, prekmurska gibanica and bosman.  Moreover, they celebrate Boxing Day and St. Stephen’s Day as well.

Statehood Day

After the adoption of the Basic Constitutional Charter on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Slovenia on 25 June 1991 by the government, they needed to wait 6 months for full exit from Yugoslavia. Therefore, this day shouldn’t be confused with Slovenia’s Statehood Day, which is celebrated on 25 June to commemorate the country’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. This day is also considered as one of the most valuable in Slovenian history. Moreover, during this day, the Jurjevanje Folklore Festival is held. This means that you can enjoy traditional entertainment, music, songs, dance, and foods if you are lucky enough to be there on time.

Ten-Day War

This was a brief conflict after Slovenia’s independence proclamation on 25 June. Right after the event, Yugoslavian tanks crossed the border of Slovenia. The fight was between the Slovenian Territorial Defence (Teritorialna obramba Republike Slovenije) and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA).

The conflict lasted only 10 days, from 27 June 1991 until 7 July 1991. On that day, the Brioni Accords were signed. Also, it is considered the beginning of the Yugoslav Wars and the breakup of Yugoslavia. Technically, this was a win of Slovenia.

The conflict was short and not intense, therefore casualties were not high. The Slovenian Army lost 19 persons and got 182 wounded. On the other side, the YPA suffered 44 fatalities and 146 wounded. Plus, 12 foreign nationals were killed, principally journalists and Bulgarian truck drivers. In general, the Yugoslav Army lost 31 tanks, 22 armored personnel carriers, 6 helicopters, 6,787 infantry weapons, 87 artillery pieces, and got 124 air defense weapons damaged.

The Political Situation Before and in Times of Gaining Independence

Slovenia was the Socialist Republic of Slovenian in the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, yet in the 1980s. At that time, Yugoslavia wasn’t ruled by Tito already. After Tito’s death on 4 May 1980, ethnic tensions became a big deal in the country. Moreover, the new Constitution of 1974 gave the possibility of this. The first one that started protests was Kosovo (that was a part of Serbia) and its riot of the Albanian majority. Therefore, the first brick was put to build the walls of independence between Yugoslav nations. 

Slovenia of the 1980s became even more democratic. In 1987, the group of Slovenian intellectuals started to oppose communistic parties and introduced the idea of a pluralistic democratic system in an independent Slovenian state. This movement gathered a lot of followers and contributed to the creation of the political coalition DEMOS in November 1989.

In 1989, the Slovene Farmers’ Alliance (SKZ) was established on the basis of the Slovene Association of Cooperatives. This was the party of workers in Slovenia. People working in culture and arts created their own Slovene Democratic Alliance (SDZ). The Christian social movement started active publishing and founded a party called the Slovene Christian Democrats. Also, in 1989, the Greens of Slovenia founded their own movement with the same name. Therefore, they created the core of further democratic opposition to the Communistic party.

Moreover, the former socio-political organizations became political parties as well because they were allowed to become parties. Thus, The League of Communists of Slovenia (ZKS) became the Party of Democratic Renewal (later the Social Democratic Party). Taking their example, the League of Socialist Youth of Slovenia became the Liberal Party, and the Socialist Alliance of the Working People became the Socialist Party.

However, it was not still enough, because there were a lot of parties but not one great opposition that would be able to defeat the old and entrenched Communistic party. Therefore, the Slovenian Democratic Union, Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, Slovenian Christian Democrats, Liberal Party, the Greens of Slovenia, and the Slovenian Farmers’ Association united in DEMOS – Democratic Opposition of Slovenia as a pre-election coalition. After that, the Slovenian Craftsmen’s Party and the Grey Panthers joined them too.

The Demos coalition won the general elections with 54% of the votes and became the political majority. This allowed the government to make the referendum asking people whether they want to be in separate Slovenia, and voted for “yes”. The first country to recognize Slovenia was Croatia. After that, former Soviet states such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine. Thereby, in 1992, it was recognized by the European Economic Community.

Nowadays in Independent Slovenia

Now, the Slovenian political situation is quite stable. In the last 100 years, the country experienced a lot of changes. This lets the people create an ability to adjust, but not the patient to tolerate it. Therefore, the situation forced the political system to change radically.

After gaining independence, Slovenia started to take active steps in the direction of the EU and NATO. Despite the fact that parties were switching from left-wing to right-wing and centrist, the course was important. Therefore, the country became a member of those organizations, adopted Euro, and became a part of the Schengen area. Now, Slovenian people have the possibility to travel and live around Europe, work there, and the Eurozone influenced only positively.

Thus, people are happy to live in independent Slovenia. Moreover, people like celebrations. They are uniting. When we not only work for a common purpose but also celebrate because of common reasons, it connects each other. That is why some holidays are so important even at the national level. It is a way to remember history, understand national identity, or reflect on some religious morality. The good government is that one who chooses those days wisely.

Therefore, there is no clear recipe for how to visit Slovenia. Of course, the best way would be to have an opportunity to experience all the national holidays. However, as it is less realistic, we would propose you visit Slovenia at once. And we promise, after the first impression, you would like to find the opportunity to revisit it.

Hence, if you cannot visit Slovenia at the Independence and Unity Day, check the calendar of the other national holidays:

1 JanWednesdayNew Year’s Day
2 JanThursdayNew Year holiday
8 FebSaturdayPreseren Day
12 AprSundayEaster Sunday
13 AprMondayEaster Monday
27 AprMondayDay of Uprising Against Occupation
1 MayFridayLabor Day / May Day
2 MaySaturdayLabour Day holiday
31 MaySundayWhit Sunday
25 JunThursdayStatehood Day
15 AugSaturdayAssumption of Mary
31 OctSaturdayReformation Day
1 NovSundayRemembrance Day
25 DecFridayChristmas Day
26 DecSaturdayIndependence and Unity Day

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