This story was originally published by Meta.mk. An edited version is republished here under a content-sharing agreement between Global Voices and Metamorphosis Foundation.
Brezna Ethno Village Montenegro, a hospitality complex located at the village of Donja Brezna in Montenegro, organized the traditional lying down contest during the last week of August 2021. For the tenth time, the competition poked fun at the widespread stereotype that Montenegrins are lazy. Contestants were supposed to lie down on the ground for hours, which turned into days.
Montenegro’s public broadcasting service (RTCG) reported that, even though the world record was broken on August 24, the three remaining contestants continued to compete, i.e. they continued lying flat in order to win an award of 300 euros (around 353 US dollars).
The breaking of the record probably came as a direct result of a change in the rules from previous years—allowing contestants to go to the toilet.
“They are allowed to go to the toilet after 8 hours, so maybe it was easier to break the record set two years ago, which was 52 hours continuous lying down. They weren’t allowed to go to the toilet. I couldn’t have managed that, so all credits go to them,” said Blagojević.
Two young men from Nikšić and a woman from Podgorica were vying for the new record. On August 25, the winner of the contest emerged, a lady from the capital, Dubravka “Duda” Aksić.
Aksić managed to lie down for 117 hours. The other finalist Nikola Bošković got up five minutes before her, while the third finalist Marko Vučković gave up two hours before them, Vesti newspaper reported.
The winner stated for Vijesti:
Zaista je bilo teško, posebno od tri sata noćas kada je počela jaka kiša. Bilo je hladno, mada smo se pokrili dodatnim ćebadima i prostirkama. Inače nam je bilo dosadilo i postalo nam je bilo naporno da ležimo, ali prizivali smo kišu da ona presudi, kao što se i desilo. Da nije bilo kiše sigurno bismo još ostali.
It was really hard, especially at 3 am last night when a heavy rain started. It was cold, even though we used additional blankets. Otherwise it become too boring to continue, and our bodies began to ache from lying down, so we attempted to invoke rain so it would be the judge, and so it came to pass. If it wasn't for the rain, we would have remained some more time.
Before the end of the contest, the organizers upgraded the top prize to 350 euros (around 412 dollars).
Duda Aksić stated for Vijesti that she intends to spend the money to party with friends and to buy something to keep as memento of the contest, which showed her that it's not easy to lie down all the time.
Part of urban folklore in the region
Stereotypes about Montenegrins being lazy are part of the common urban folklore in the countries that comprised Yugoslavia, which also contains jokes based on stereotypes about ethnic communities or inhabitants of particular regions as cunning, base, stingy, boastful, hedonistic, etc.
One instance of that kind of humor are the decades-old Ten Montenegrin Commandments (Deset crnogorskih zapovjedi) which use the format of the Biblical Ten Commandments. Their author is anonymous.
- Čovjek se rodi umoran i živi da bi se odmar’o
- Ljubi svoj krevet ka’ samoga sebe
- Odmaraj se danju, da noću možeš spavat’
- Ne radi – rad ubija
- Ako vidiš nekog’ đe se odmara – pomozi mu
- Radi manje no što možeš, a ono što možeš prebači na drugoga
- U ‘ladu je spas – od odmaranja još niko nije crka’
- Rad donosi bolest – ne umri mlad
- Kad slučajno želiš radit’ – sjedi, pričeka, vidjećeš, proći će te
- Kad vidiš da jedu i piju – primakni se, kad vidiš đe rade – izmakni se da ne smetaš
- Man is born tired and lives to get a rest.
- Love your bed as you love yourself.
- Rest during the day, so you can sleep at night.
- Do not work — work kills.
- If you see someone resting, help him out.
- Work as little as you can, and pass all the work you can to another.
- In shade is salvation — nobody died from resting.
- Work brings illness — don't you die young.
- If you have an urge to work, sit down, wait and you’ll see it will pass.
- When you see people eat and drink, approach them. When you see them working, withdraw yourself not to bother them.
Montengrins are also famous for being valiant and chivalrous, and they have owned this kind of jokes, using them as graphics on souvenirs (mugs, t-shirts, posters) as well as internet memes.
One of the many favorite jokes told by Montengrins also concerns the difficult work of lying down:
Snimao Spillberg film u Crnoj Gori, pa su mu trebali neki statisti. I tako uzme on dvojicu Crnogoraca, i objasni im da im je jedini zadatak da leže ispod jednog drveta.
I tako Crnogorci radili dva dana, kad im trećeg Spillberg reče da bi se zbog nove scene morali premjestiti pod drugo drvo.
Nato će mu stariji Crnogorac: ‘Ej Spilberže, Spilberže mi smo statisti i glumci, al’ bogumi kaskaderi nijesmo!’
American film director Steven Spielberg was shooting a movie in Montengro and invited locals as extras. He hired two Montengrins and explained to them that their task is to lie under a tree.
So the two Montenegrins worked for two days. On the third day Spielberg told them that for the new scene they have to move under another tree.
The older Montengrin responded: “Alas Mr. Spielberg, we are indeed extras and actors, but we are not stuntmen!”