Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Slovenian carnival spirit on budget

Amazing and also intriguing is the heritage that a little country such as Slovenia has to offer. Have you ever wondered about it? If not, February is a good start for the beginning of your journey into the mystical depths of Slovenian culture. And there is a silver lining even if there is no need for one. On certain days you can simply hop on a Ryanair plane in Copenhagen and travel to Budapest for only 20,04 Euros. After that, getting from the Hungarian capitol to Slovenia is manageable with all kinds of public transportation.


@Author - Jošt Gantar; www.slovenia.info
So why February? Because it is the carnival month in Slovenia, a very busy, loud and playful time of the year. It is the month when Slovenians decide they had enough of the cold, snowy winter and therefore put on costumes to scare it away. Pust, as the carnival is called in Slovenia, is the time when a lot of versions of winter-scaring events take place throughout the whole country. The most famous one is Kurentovanje in the town of Ptuj with its central traditional figure Kurent. This event is one of the most important traditional events in Slovenia and has a more than a hundred-years-old tradition. Among the large groups depicting Kurent carnival also hosts many other rather joyous figures and since Slovenia is one of the richest European countries when it comes to the carnival costumes, good time and enjoyment are inevitable. 

www.slovenia.info
Even though it is a small country, there is a variety of carnivals in different parts of Slovenia, all with the same purpose to scare away the winter. For example in Prekmurje region they shame single villagers with a so called pine-wedding – Borovo gostüvaje – if none of them has been wed in the pre carnival time. In Cerkno they scare away the winter so, that on the Sunday after the New Year a mystic creature called Laufar runs around the streets and is every following Sunday joined by more enthusiast wearing a similar wooden costume. A group of 25 of them is called Laufarija and is also a famous carnival event in Slovenia. And in the south-western part of the country there is Čičarija, also an event, dedicated to the winter and her farewell.

60let.laufarija-cerkno.si
So what is there to think about? With such on budget options it is almost a sin not to visit and to witness the heritage coming to life. After all, it is not every day you can see scary looking creature with and long red tongue, wearing a sheepskin and jumping around so that the bells on its belts ring trough the cold February days. But beware of its thin wooden bat with real hedgehog spikes at the top end – ježevka. And if you are a girl, make sure to carry a white handkerchief with which the Kurent can decorate his weapon. And if you are even a little bit interested, be sure to book the next available flight.




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