Fun & interesting facts about Kurentovanje in Ptuj

Published: 1.3.2019

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Fun & interesting facts about Kurentovanje in Ptuj

We reveal some fun & interesting facts which you might have not heard of about the biggest carnival celebration in Slovenia, Kurentovanje in Ptuj.

Fun & interesting facts about Kurentovanje in Ptuj

The 59th edition of Kurentovanje is taking place in Ptuj, from 15 February to 5 March. It is Slovenia’s main spring cultural and ethnographic festival of national importance and the richest international Shrovetide celebration. The unique Ptuj carnival legacy, which is deeply rooted in the mystical pagan character of Kurent and many other characters, is combined with attractive local features throughout the festival, such as music, dance, fashionable local cuisine and high-quality wines. No wonder that the unique Carnival masks, Kurenti, were inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Throughout the festival, numerous events take place in the town’s vibrant squares and streets and its surroundings, such as ethnographic and carnival parades, presentations of ethnographic characters, concerts, dances in masks and performances. Dwellers of Ptuj live for and with Kurentovanje, and they truly represent the saying: “If you want to experience Kurentovanje, you have to live it.”

Here are some special features, which you might have not known about:

  • Kurents jump is a mystical midnight experience, when the Kurents first don their bells, dance around the fire, and start chasing away the winter and evil. Each year more than 300 kurents gather at the homestead  of the former prince of the carnival Zoki Matevž. The kurent jump has now more than 15 years of tradition and its importance and the number of people visiting the event is increasing each year. 
  • Apart from the most known traditional carnival character Kurent there is a number of other traditional ethnographical characters such as gypsies, kopjaši, ploughmen etc.
  • Another very special things about the Kurentovanje is also the tradition of making the kurent costume. Family Klinc from Spuhlja near Ptuj has been making them for centuries. Every head mask has a uniquely painted leather front, while the teeth are made of beans and the moustache of maize. The long red tongue is made of fabric or leather. Kurents wear sheep skin coats, or sometimes coats made of goat or rabbit skin. They wear five cow bells around their waist, and high boots with red or green knitted socks. In their hands they swing a “ježevka”, a wooden club with hedgehog spikes at the top end. 

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Kurentovanje has attracted also a great number of renowned international media to Ptuj. Only this year, the Slovenian Tourist Board hosted numerous journalists who wished to peek into the behind-the-scenes happening. One of the major travel magazines in Poland, Podroze, has just left Ptuj, after spending several days there, observing local traditions and staying with the locals - all for an extensive reportage in their magazine. Currently, the crew of the Dutch edition of the National Geographic Traveler is there, among them also Bénédicte Kurzen, whose photo got nominated for the World Press Photo 2019 in the category portraits.

Many articles about the traditions of Kurentovanje have already been published, as we were pitching the story with a help of our PR agencies in the foreign markets. Among them also the article by Sharon McDonnell, a freelance journalist based in the US, who among others also writes for Travel + Leisure,  Architectural Digest, National Geographic Traveler, USA Today, BBC Travel,  CNN Travel, MSN, and AFAR. She wrote an article on Worlds Nomad, where she lists Kurentovanje among the 6 festivals in the world worth visiting.

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