offering a unique selection of
hotels, bed & breakfasts and holiday apartments in
Slovenia. In 2007 after success with the
reservation system for Ljubljana & Bled, they have
expanded to a deeper selection for Maribor and along the
know for a great parade featuring traditional
animals with groups of dormice, frogs, boars, devils and
witches. Popular signature figures are
Uršula, the giant witch
ancestress and Jezerko the
lake monster and Butalci,
half-wit inhabitants of the village of Butale [ a
fictional village from a book by humorist Fran
Milicinski Jezek] giant pike, devil and his dormice and
calls itself the Laufarija
(from laufati - to run, laufen in German). The central
carnival figure, the pust,
personifies winter and is guilty for all the bad deeds
in the town during the last year, so it is executed
exactly as the bloody tradition has been passed
down.Cerko, located in western Slovenia, will have "laufarji",
appearing in more than 25 different costume types some
costumes are made of 10,000 plus ivy leaves and fir
boughs and the pust can wear between 60 to 80 kilograms
of moss while bearing little horns on his head and
holding a young fir tree in his hands. Laufarji is
the next most famous and original Shrovetide
groups in Slovenia after the Korent. They start
gathering right after New Year every Sunday after mass.
At first, only two of them go out, and then, every
Sunday, more of them join the gathering, (until Pust,
Shrove Tesday, when everyone goes out.
Cividale Carnival you
are likely to find the devil is led on a chain by the
Archangel Michael, reminiscent of the one-time mystery
Bila Carnival last to
Ash Wednesday when the Carnival mascot is burnt. The
pinnacles of the celebrations take place on Saturday
evening and at the Sunday noon dance in the square
called ta-na Gorici (the one on the hill). The
characteristic mask is dressed in white, wearing a high
head cover with flowers, colourful ribbons and bells.
Besides these beautiful masks there are also the ugly
masks like the babaci, whose faces are covered in black
and who visit homesteads at night, scaring children.
These masks represent the spirit of the dead, who
are presented with gifts in the shape of food, thus
ensuring fertility and a good harvest for themselves.
Characteristic masks with demonic animal wooden faces
hide mischief makers spreading ashes and catching
naughty people. They are often accompanied by an entire
matrimonial procession. Making the masks among the most
distinctive in the Slovenian Carnival tradition are that
they are carved from linden wood. The carnival parade
also contains “the beautiful,” who wear nice hats
from which flutter brightly colored ribbons. The leader
of the beautiful wears a cylinder and carries a stick in
his hand. Beside him stroll the accordionists who play
the Dreznica carnival polka. On Monday, carnival
participants make a straw man with a face of “the ugly.”
At midnight on Fat Tuesday the villagers take the straw
man to his funeral.
Slovenian cuisine is strongly influenced
by that of its neighbors.
comes zavitek (strudel) and
Dunajski zrezek (Wiener schnitzel).
Italy has contributed njoki
(potato dumplings) rizota (risotto)
and žlikrofi (a type of ravioli)
and Hungary, goulash.
Burek, originating in the
Balkans, is a layered cheese, meat or even
apple pie served as a take-away snack.
Ljubljana veal cutlet (breaded slices of
veal stuffed with cheese and ham), however,
is particular to Slovenia.
Typical desserts are potica (nut
roll) and gibanica (apple and
poppy-cheese pie) Žganje is a
popular strong brandy.
The personification of Carnival, the Pust, is not only the
leader of the masquerading group but also takes on
responsibility for people's behaviour. They, in turn, assign to
him the role of a scapegoat for all that went wrong in the
community during the past year. He is responsible for this and
that and must be punished for it. The Slovenian Carnival
consequently appoints a straw deputy on Ash Wednesday. It is him
that is put on trial, him that has to be finished off, led upon
the bier, carried out of the village and buried, burned or
drowned. A more "modernized" execution takes place for example
in Tolmin, there the Pust is shot dead.
Evil has left the village, a new life can begin. This old
fashioned way of thinking has long vanished from the
consciousness of those who bury the Carnival's Pust in Slovenia.
Nowadays the burial of the Pust is an amusement, in some places
even the only way of celebrating Carnival. It is interesting to
see that in more recent years the working class in industrial
areas have picked up the tradition again.
King Midas encourages
his flute competing up against
playing his lyre in this famous Carnaval tale
century B.C @ National Museum in Ljubljana
Situlas are decorated bronze
vessel used for solemn libations and feasting during festive
celebrations. The main focal points and sites of Venetic
artifacts in particular situla productions are to be found in
Villanova (Bologna) and Este in northern Italy, in Sanzeno and
Melaun, in Tyrol, and in Vace in Slovenia. The Veneti dominated
central Europe during the Early Iron Age period. Around
400 BC, the Celts, proceeding from Switzerland and France
colonized a great part of the Venetic territory and Situlas
stopped being produce.
After nearly a millennium of distinctive cultural in
northeastern Italy the Veneti people aligned themselves with the
Romans in the 1st century BC and were assimilated.
Their animal symbols such as the imperial eagle, the deer
as badge of the Swabian arms, the bull of Mecklenburg, the
griffin of Pomerania, the panther of Carantania, the ram of
Graubünden have survived as popular emblem symbols.
frieze of the situla of Vace shows hammered reliefs depicting
cult feasts, competitions
Ptuj is the center of the
surrounded by signs of the Zodiac was the official pagan
religion of Rome and referenced the Age of Taurus as well as the
coming Age of Aquarius in its rituals.
Kurenti are only the most
famous of the multitude of traditional masks
and carnival figures that have survived
until today. Ethnologists estimate that
about 170 distinct costumes have been
preserved - a lot for a country the size of
Slovenia but understandable since each
province has maintained their own proper
carnival customs and traditions and almost
every Slovenian city and town hostd
One of the oldest
traditional characters in Slovenia are
.Similar to the more
famous Kurenti, they chase away winter and
bring the prospect of an abundant harvest.
The main figures among them are those with
huge tongs, with which they catch young
girls. This the "Kliščar" will also pick up
the girls with his huge tongs and smears
them with soot.
Add to this typical
masquerade impulses such as reversal
phenomenon where women and men dress
up as each other putting clothes on
backwards and there's no excuse for you not
to masquerade in your village at Carnaval
"The Slovenian deer hind "kosuta"
is by far the most attractive shape
from them all. Near or far, in
Slovenian or in neighbouring
territories, it has no equal. Since
it is limited to the south eastern
part of the one-time Roman province
of Noricum, the present-day southern
Styria, it could be a direct
descendant of the aboriginal "cervula",
which belonged to the cult of the
Celtic deity Cernunnos. From the
16th century onward however, it
seems that in some places of eastern
Styria the hind mask was replaced
with the camel one. This influence
can be traced back to rebel
deserters, who came from the then
still Turkish territory of the
"When Branko Žnidarčič was a boy his
parents told him that the carnival
preparations used to be for men
only. If one was to participate in
these doings he had to go through an
initiation called ˝možjeta˝. Those
who went through this initiation
became a part of a society, which
was closed to women, and whose main
concern was the carnival
preparations. But alas came the 20th
century and many young men began
seeking employment in the city and
as a result of this, women were
admitted into this society, too. And
little Branko Žnidarčič was there to
witness all this. He always loved to
observe the mask makers at their
work, and at the age of twelve he
made his first mask. When he was
older he took another shot at mask
making. In 1987 he and his friends
went to the carnival in Portorož
where the crowd warmly accepted
their interesting self-made masks.
This was a big boost in his career."
The Museum of
Mediterranean masks evolved with the
a cultural link between the
cultural universe of the
small town of Mamoiada,
which is known throughout
the world for its
traditional masks, the "Mamuthones"
and "Issohadores", and other
Mediterranean areas, which
display a similar history
and culture through their
masks and Carnival
mask, the "Kurent"
on the left
on the right
"In a mask you can do forbidden things -
confession comes later."
"The devils and evil spirits of the next
day were perhaps more psychosomatic and
drawn from the excesses of the night
before than derived from a Celtic past.
But exorcism was at hand. The bells of
St George's church pealed as a phalanx
of koranti, some 250 of them, jogged
past, shoulder-to-shoulder through the
drifts of snow, in a bottom-rolling gait
that clattered their cow bells against
each in a solid roar of sound. Ahead,
trios of forman - carters - stopped at
the street intersections and cracked
six-metre whips to drive away the devil.
A red cat-suited devil - tajfl - ran
along the gathering crowd as master of
ceremonies, a net to gather souls in
slung over his shoulder, a trident in
"From the surrounding villages, groups
of traditional 'masks' enacted out their
symbolic heritage. One hamlet provided a
line of women bearing fresh-baked 'plait
loaves' studded with flowers. Four
flat-land villages had teams of
ploughmen, oraci, in top boots and
aprons, 'tilling the soil' to bring
fertility to the snow covered land. And
a rusa, a lewdly mischievous pantomine
horse galloped the streets to bring
virility to the farmers' stallions,
bulls, rams and boars.
"From Haloze and Cirkovce the
'log-haulers' pulled a fresh cut tree,
the male spirit, and stopped to saw of
rings of trunk to present to girls on
the pavement as a sigh that they should
get married as soon as possible. The
unmarried women watching were prepared;
all carried hand-embroidered
handkerchiefs to give to their favourite
koranti, who collected them in great
flowing 'cuffs' tied to their wrists."