“New best wishes on good old Christmas cards 2021”: NSK well-wishing tradition campaign continues
The National and University Library in Zagreb has launched New best wishes on good old Christmas cards 2021, the 2021 sequel to the 2020 campaign aimed at reviving an almost forgotten well-wishing tradition during the Christmas and New Year holidays through the presentation of old Croatian Christmas and New Year cards preserved in the Library’s Print Collection. Under the slogan Greeting cards for each and every wish, the Library wants to bring closer to the public its rich Christmas and New Year cards collection and thus inspire all to make this Christmas special and wish their loved ones happy holidays in the old-fashion way. For this purpose, the Library again partnered with the Večernji list daily, whose issue on 12 December 2021 will include an attractive selection of the Library’s Christmas cards, as the two partners’ gift to Croatian citizens.
Christmas and New Year cards are a valuable part of global cultural heritage. In the 19th century they became the central part of Christmas customs and replaced older, oral well-wishing traditions, which apart from spoken wishes included those given through songs. The Library’s Print Collection’s over five hundred unique Christmas and New Year cards, dating from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, represent a true Christmas and New Year cards museum of a kind. They offer fascinating glimpses into past times, holding valuable records of the history of places, people and events. Due to their motifs and the patina of days gone by, they are still interesting, especially in terms of providing us with a revealing insight into how people used to wish each other well in the old times.
The Collection’s oldest Christmas and New Year cards date from the end of the 19th century, one of the oldest ones being a 1904 card to Elza Kučera, the first female librarian in Croatia and the first woman in Croatia to earn a doctorate degree in psychology, with internationally recognised professional achievements. Also, particularly valuable cards in the Collection were illustrated by prominent Croatian visual artists such as Andrija Maurović, Slavko Tomerlin, Zlatko Šulentić and Otto Antonini.
Intended as a source of inspiration for everyone willing to devote some extra effort in spreading optimism, but especially those many who will not be able to spend these holidays with their family and friends, a selection of old cards from the Library’s Print Collection available on the New best wishes… website offers a unique opportunity for using these Christmas holidays to reconnect with each other through the simple, and yet so powerful act of writing. Regardless of who it might be addressed to, a Christmas card opens the way for us to always remain connected in our hearts and send best wishes, regardless of any obstacles.