What is Shrovetide?

Shrovetide represents a bridge between winter and spring. It was once believed that it lasted from the Epiphany to Shrove Tuesday. The Shrovetide date changes annually depending on the date of Easter. Although it is commonly connected to the arrival of spring, its name (in Slovenian: pust) reveals another meaning altogether – ‘pust’ and the international name ‘carnival’ both mean ‘leave meat’. The main day during Shrovetide is Shrove Tuesday, and the Shrovetide celebrations end on Ash Wednesday, which marks the 40-day Lent period of fasting before Easter. People wear different masks for Shrovetide – from traditional ones to masks that reflect modern social life. Shrovetide is connected to various traditions, Shrovetide dances, carnival parades, basically fun and tables laden with delicious Shrovetide dishes. 

Clownish carnival events

The main Shrovetide events take place between Fat Thursday and Ash Wednesday. Many interesting Shrovetide customs can be observed at that time. In some places, Shrovetide characters seize power from the local authorities. In other places, Shrovetide masked figures visit the locals and drive away evil spirits by bringing joy and laughter. Some areas keep alive the tradition of hauling a freshly cut log into the village if no wedding was held between Christmas and Shrove Tuesday. The Shrovetide events culminate in many Shrovetide processions and dances around Slovenia, while all the festivities end on Ash Wednesday when the carnival figure is found guilty and buried. Experience some interesting varieties of these customs.

When the aroma of Shrovetide specialities reaches you from the kitchen

Usually, Shrovetide menus include heavy, greasy, and fried dishes. Pork dishes play a central role – pork soup, ričet (barley mush hotpot) with pork ribs, pork sausages, and a pork roast. Among fried dishes, fried leavened dough is predominant, as it is used to make krofi, bobi, flancati, miške, and other local delicacies.

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Try a krofi and miške recipe

To truly experience Shrovetide in Slovenia, may the aroma of krofi (doughnuts) and miške (fried doughnut balls) come from your kitchen, too. Try these recipes for these two popular fried Shrovetide dishes.

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The most typical carnival characters in Slovenia

Although the streets are teeming with more or less original masks depicting various aspects of life, some Shrovetide masks are deeply rooted in the consciousness of the inhabitants and their Shrovetide traditions. Meet some of the most recognisable Shrovetide masks and carnival celebrations.

Kurentovanje

The largest Slovenian Carnival celebration is Kurentovanje, in which the main role is played by Kurenti, typical carnival characters. You will recognise them by their typical attire known as Kurentija, which consists of a hat, a sheep-skin suit, green or red knee-high stockings, bells attached to a chain around the belt, and a ježevka (a thick stick with hedgehog spines). Apart from Kurenti, you will also meet other carnival characters, such as orači (ploughmen), pokači (whip-crackers), ploharji (log-haulers), etc.

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Kurentovanje

Kurentovanje

The largest Slovenian Carnival celebration is Kurentovanje, in which the main role is played by Kurenti, typical carnival characters. You will recognise them by their typical attire known as Kurentija, which consists of a hat, a sheep-skin suit, green or red knee-high stockings, bells attached to a chain around the belt, and a ježevka (a thick stick with hedgehog spines). Apart from Kurenti, you will also meet other carnival characters, such as orači (ploughmen), pokači (whip-crackers), ploharji (log-haulers), etc.

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Laufarji of Cerkno

Laufarji of Cerkno

If you visit Cerkno during Shrovetide, you will definitely run into laufarji (runners). The group of Cerkno laufarji is composed of 25 characters with various wooden masks called larfe. They symbolise the features and weaknesses of particular groups of people. The central character is called Pust, who wears moss, has horns, and carries a small spruce tree in his hands. In addition to Pust, there are also other characters dressed in various natural materials, such as ivy, hay, and animal skins.

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Škoromati

Škoromati

Škoromati are the oldest Shrovetide masks in Slovenia, especially typical of the Brkini area. Colourful hats made of paper flowers are the typical symbol of the Škoromati with bells. One of the central characters is also the Kleščar or Škopit, who chases after women, girls, and children with pincers. 

The carnival costumes of Drežnica

The carnival costumes of Drežnica

In Drežnica and Drežniške Ravne near Kobarid, the carnival costumes of Drežnica summon the arrival of spring. They are divided into “the Ugly Ones” chasing young people to throw ashes on them, and “the Beautiful Ones”, who visit homes, dance, and gather gifts.

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Shrovetide in Cerknica

Shrovetide in Cerknica

The Carnival of Cerknica is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive carnivals in Slovenia. At that time, the streets of Cerknica are taken over by Ursula the Witch, Jezerko the Lake Man, the Giant Pike Fish, Butalci and other Shrovetide masks, which are always true eye-catchers for young and old.

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Joy upon the arrival of spring

Shrovetide masks also drive away evil spirits and summon the arrival of spring. Observe the awakening of nature in spring and celebrate these spring festivals with us.

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