Slovenia is Celebrating!
17. May, 2018

Save the Bees

May 20 - World Bee Day
Back in the year 1734, on May 20th a man was born. His name was Anton Janša. A name that usually doesn’t tell much to a foreigner, but a name that gives pride to each and every Slovenian. He was one of the three boys, born to a farmer in a small village of Breznica. Together with numerous farming chores that he needed to do as a child, he was also a very avid painter and beekeeper. Beekeeping was his favourite thing to do and many times he referred to it as the »poetry of farming«. Thanks to his dad who owned hundreds of hives and invited villagers over to discuss about it, he was exposed to this amazing learning experience at a very young age. He became a beekeeper himself, started his lectures on beekeeping and published two notable books – Discussion on Beekeeping and A full guide to Beekeeping – both of them still widely used by beekeepers of the 21st century.
He changed the size and shape of hives, so they can be stacked together like blocks, he decorated the fronts with paintings, he rejected the belief that the male bees are water carriers and assumed that the queen- bee is fertilized mid-air, he also introduced moving hives to pastures.
Of all Slovenians he was the first royally appointed teacher of apiculture for all Austrian lands and after his death Maria Theresa, an Austrian empress, issued a decree that all teachers are obliged to use his apiculture books to lecture from.  So yes, it is this and much more that gives a Slovenian a very strong sense of pride, when you hear his name. He has done so much for the beekeeping of our country, that our Beekeeping association decided to vouch for an international celebration on his birth date. A small delegation from the villages where Anton lived, packed up their suitcases and left for UN with a firm goal – making May 20th a World Bee Day. And they succeded.
Now  May 20th is just behind the corner. Walking the little gravel roads in my village, passing the pastures full of spring flowers, seeing bees in action in their natural habitat is a wonder. It feels like the whole community is living for this day.
Kids at the elementary school have been decorating the school for the past two months with flowers and bees, all they talk about is that the President is coming and they need to make the place good looking. A small artsy gallery done by the kids is just outside of the school and you discover that children’s imagination doesn’t have boundaries. Hope the international delegation will enjoy their exhibition as much as the parents and grandparents do every day on their way to school escorting their beloved ones.
A short stroll away from school stands an old apiary. Still on the same spot where Anton used to enjoy spending time with his beess. The apiary just got a face-lift. Its wheat covered roof, beautifuly laid walkways and signage, refreshed painted panels and a new addition of Janša stock-up hives full of buzzing bees. Feels like the past goes hand in hand with the future.
As Anton wrote many years ago in one of his books: »Bees are a type of fly, hardworking, created by God to provide man with all needed honey and wax. Amongst all God’s beings there are none so hard working and useful to man with so little attention needed for its keep as the bee. »
Bees are our future. Without them life on our planet wouldn’t be possible. We wouldn’t have the beautiful pastures filled with flowers, fruits on our trees or veggies on our gardens. Due to pollination about one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination by bees. So they truly are our life link – so it needs to be in our conscience to take care of them and respect them. And when walking around, hearing the buzz and smelling the flowers one can notice two large tents in the middle of a flower covered pastures. Man busy at work, like the bees are. The tents are ready and waiting for over 4000 people from near and far. Young, old, families and friends, beekeepers and honey eaters…
Let us all celebrate this wonderful, hardworking animal. It is because of them that we live in such a bee-autiful place!

Want to explore Slovenian beekeeping tradition with us? Bee in touch!

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