Discovering Novi Bečej: Stories, people, history

By the paths of the past: Discover the rich history, interesting events and unforgettable people who have shaped Novi Bečej through time, as we return together to the heart of this beautiful city on the banks of the Tisza.

Novobečej and Vranjevo Jokers

Every place, including Novi Bečej and Vranjevo, had individuals whose actions and behavior drew attention to themselves. Only those who were altruistic, who often subjected their own personalities to ridicule just to make others laugh and cheer them up, will be mentioned. Because of this, their behavior often deviated from the norms that prevailed in the environments they came from and lived in. This influenced the judgments about them not always being favorable, although everyone knew they were kind-hearted individuals who loved people, who tried to entertain and amuse others with their actions, jokes, and inventions. As a rule, they were even victims of their excessive love for society.

These were ordinary and seemingly insignificant people for the life of the community, but whose not only behavior and actions but often just their presence caused joy and laughter. I used the term "ordinary people," although they were not really ordinary. These were usually individuals who passed away unnoticed, with the most modest funeral procession, but their jokes and witticisms were mentioned long after their death; this truly does not happen to small and ordinary people. It is difficult to give a general assessment of them, although nobility characterized everything as a general trait.

I want to emphasize their efforts to provide small joys to others, without which everyday life would not be beautiful and pleasant. At the same time, I want to remind contemporaries of their merits. It is not uncommon even today to hear a joke from Bača Bajina, Pere Štrba, and Laza Džebrak during a gathering.

These were people with a particularly pronounced power of observation, noticing things that an ordinary person does not see, as well as very quick reactions. Like true artists, they added their own touch, making an ordinary event interesting and memorable for all time. These were people to whom jokes and witty remarks came naturally - as we say, out of the blue. They were not great strivers or outstanding workers, as their motto was to be satisfied with little but to lead a cheerful life in society. An exception in our case is Petar Sekulić. Unburdened by worries, not because they didn't have them, optimistic without major ambitions, every problem seemed smaller and more easily solvable for them than for others.

Jokers often invent and add things to events that did not happen, but not to lie - that is not their goal, but to make the event more interesting. Even when they exaggerate, they do it as true artists to entertain and delight their surroundings.

Jokers exist everywhere and in every society, but there are not many who live on even after death. Their names, jokes, and witticisms are remembered and passed on to the young. There are not many of them, but nature is generous in that regard, always replacing those who have disappeared with new ones. In this way, society is never without their presence, and therefore, stories and their witticisms continue. Jokers, of course, keep pace with the times, and the most successful ones are those related to current events, although they also live in the past, especially in the place and community where they originated, and where stories, experiences, and personalities are remembered. In the era we want to recall, Novi Bečej had its own jokers, if that is the right term for them. There were certainly more of them, but I chose four, who, with their jokes and witticisms, would be among the most famous.

Perhaps, due to this writing, I might receive reproach from some of their relatives who might feel offended that I portrayed their ancestor or relative in a different light than they knew them to be. However, my desire is to honestly and benevolently present the jokes and witticisms, as well as to describe their appearance with certain character traits, so that their characters are preserved from oblivion. Of course, I cannot ignore perhaps even the imperfect aspects of their physical appearance and character, just as I remember them. Therefore, I am confident that readers will make an effort to approach these memories with the same goodwill with which I approached the writing. Thus, the personalities I am writing about should be viewed as I remember them. If any word seems too harsh, it should be taken as my clumsiness and not as a desire to portray anyone poorly.

On the contrary, I write about them to portray them in a positive light, just as I remembered them as a young person, listening and enjoying their jokes and stories. Today, I remember them with a lot of respect, regardless of the fact that many may not share the opinion that they deserve it to that extent.

They were great optimists who loved the community in which they lived and with their cheerful spirits, they contributed a lot. Their actions were fundamentally always harmless, even though sometimes their jokes or witticisms caused pain to those to whom they were directed. Their jokes were a necessary everyday small joy, without which life would be monotonous and devoid of what makes it beautiful.

There are many stories and jokes from the lives of those I want to remind you of. However, aware that not all of them may be as interesting as they seemed to me at that time, I will limit myself to a few jokes and anecdotes for each of them. Hitting the right balance in this, without omitting what completes and makes the respective person as they really were, is not easy and straightforward. However, even at the cost of being incomplete, I choose to go for somewhat abbreviated descriptions, and I will be especially grateful to those readers who consider it insufficient if they expand and complement my writings.

"To amuse people and, at the same time, through play and humor, show them the way to the highest and most beautiful virtue, enabling them to become perfect and happy, is the best thing one can do for them" (Dositej Obradović). That's how I understood the role of the Novi Bečej Jokers, and that's why I recorded their jokes and witticisms as I remembered them.

Related Articles