Besides Christmas, Easter is the greatest Christian holiday which is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon. Although most of the Easter festivities are held during the Holy Week, the Easter period commences immediately after Shrovetide on Ash Wednesday. Easter is a Christian holiday, but certain customs demonstrate their Pagan roots in relation to the beginning of spring and new vintage. Learn about Slovenian traditions which mark the Easter holidays and taste delicacies which find themselves on the table for Easter feast.
Palm Sunday bundles
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. In Slovenia, fresh greenery and plants bound into bundles and olive branches are traditionally brought to church for blessing. Neatly made bundles reflect people’s creativity, and differ in different regions in terms of appearance and name. You can find bundles from Ljubljana at the Ljubljana marketplace made from wood shavings of different colours, and fresh spring greenery and evergreens, which you may also encounter elsewhere around Slovenia. Special bundles are Palm Sunday bundles from Ljubno, which are ornate bundles created with plenty of imagination and, in addition to Christian motifs, depict farm tools and chores. Palm Sunday bundles in the Upper Sava Valley are called prajklji. A special place is held by prajklji from Rateče with pretzels hung from their evergreen branches. Before Easter, you may create your own prajklj at the Liznjek Homestead in Kranjska Gora.
Put Easter treats on the table
Various names for Easter in Slovenia testify to the fact that the holiday is also time for celebrations and gastronomic pleasures. Easter marks the end of the fasting period which commences on Ash Wednesday. During this period, there should be no meat on the table but dishes like cabbage, turnip, beans, žganci without cracklings. Aleluja is a typical fasting dish, which is made from dried and slightly smoked turnip peel, which is also regaining its reputation in haute cuisine.
At Easter, the holiday table is dominated by Easter treats which are blessed beforehand – horseradish, ham, hard-boiled Easter eggs (coloured eggs) and potica. Bread and flat bread also find their way to the table. Taste sweet bread in the shape of birds, nests, monks with eggs in the Gorička region, a special filling called fuline and the Kostel stomach is prepared in Bela Krajina, while in the Kozjansko region you will be served bread potica.
Easter eggs – miniature art
A special place on the holiday table belongs to Easter eggs or coloured eggs which are a peculiar form of people's artistic expression. The most recognisable Easter eggs are pisanice from Bela Krajina which you may admire at the Bela Krajina Museum in Metlika and take them with you as a souvenir. While pisanice are made with a special pen to apply wax and form ornaments, remenke or remenice from Prekmurje are created with scratching. Also worth a look are Vrhnika Easter Eggs created from thousands of tiny holes in the egg shell so that they look like genuine lace art. Marvellous Easter eggs may also be seen at other exhibitions around Slovenia during Easter holidays. Among the largest is the exhibition of Easter eggs in Veržej. Ljubljana Castle holds the Best Easter Egg Contest. Easter eggs are also part of Easter games and competitions such as cutting Easter eggs with coins, egg tapping or Easter egg roll.