It starts as soon as the clock strikes midnight
Men dressed in sheepskin, horns and feathers start to dance around the bonfire in Ptuj, Slovenia. Shortly they’ll begin their parade of going door to door around the neighborhood. Warding off evil spirits with their bells and clubs, Kurents are the main event of the Kurentovanje Slovenia.
It starts as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
Men dressed in sheepskin, horns and feathers start to dance around the bonfire in Ptuj, Slovenia. Shortly they’ll begin their parade of going door to door around the neighborhood. Warding off evil spirits with their bells and clubs, Kurents are the main event of the Kurentovanje Carnival Slovenia.
The festival has been organized by the town of Ptuj since 1960. In 2019 the Kurentovanje festival is from February 28 to March 6. What started as a weekend celebration has escalated into a ten-day festival of indulgences and dancing.
Kurentovanje Slovenia was originally a locals only event. Slovenians celebrated the end of winter and start of spring by throwing themselves a pre-Lent festival in the name of the Kurent. God of unrestrained pleasure and hedonism, the Kurent was believed to have the power to lure in spring and chase away winter.
The costumes of the Kurents were quickly joined by the traditional costumes of cultures around the world. Kurentovanje Slovenia now celebrates people from Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Japan and more.
The ten-day festival now has over 10,000 participants each year and 150,000 attendees
Other carnivals nearby include the Carnival de Nice in France.
It all starts in Budina, a village in Ptuj.
The first event of Kurentovanje Slovenia is the Kurent’s Jump. It takes place around a massive bonfire. Participants and attendees wait patiently for midnight. At the start of the new day, Kurents start to dance and make their way from home to home. The following day, the streets of Ptuj come to life with concerts, activities and performances.
The Folk Parade is the first daytime event of Kurentovanje Slovenia. It starts in the Mestni trg at 11AM. Kurents parade through the city streets and squares. The performances and Kurentovanje Slovenia customs are explained to guests over loudspeakers.
The Different Parades
Each day there are different parades to attend, such as the Night Parade which starts at 6:pm in the Mestni trg. It parades through the town with performances and lights. Food vendors serve warm alcoholic beverages.
The Kindergartener’s Parade is created to be family friendly. Young children are invited to participate as they make their way through Ptuj.
One of the main events of Kurentovanje Slovenia is the International Parade. Participants from around the world dress in traditional clothing. As the parade makes its way through the streets, bystanders can see cultures comes together in celebration. Croatians, Serbians, Italian, Japanese among others dance their way through the streets of Ptuj.
So Why Kurentovanje Carnival?
The town is making headway on to their goal as over one hundred thousand people travel to Slovenia to experience Kurentovanje Carnival Slovenia. With over ten thousand participants from around the world, they have established one of the most culturally diverse pre-Lent celebrations.
There is only one way to know why the weekend celebration was worth turning into a ten-day event. The reason lies in the streets of Ptuj, in the costumes of the Kurents and in the festivities that are the Kurentovanje Slovenia.