Reviving tradition in a modern way
Slovenians are proud of their cultural history and tradition. Throughout history, this pride was what contributed to us ‘stand and withstand’, as the Slovenian reformist Primož Trubar would put it. We show our tradition in different ways, but the best way is to visit one of the many festivals offering an insight into life in particular towns, cities, and villages, as it once was and as it is now. Although different areas of life intertwine at many festivals, most frequently music and local gastronomy, we would like to highlight some festivals that are distinctly ethnological.
Did you know that Slovenians have liked to put on masks to chase away winter for centuries? There's something pagan about these people, you may think. There's some truth to this. Rituals for chasing away winter and evil spirits are old, probably as old as humanity itself. Today, they are known for age-old indigenous characters as well as modern masks, which are a reflection of contemporary society.
Kurentovanje celebration in Ptuj
The Kurentovanje celebration in Ptuj is the largest Slovenian Shrovetide event with a rich tradition. The door-to-door rounds of Kurenti have been entered on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Days of National Costumes and Clothing Heritage
At the end of summer, the streets of the historic town of Kamnik are full of colourful national costumes from all parts of Slovenia. Taking place in the second weekend of September, this largest ethnological festival in the country, boasting over 40 years of tradition, attracts more than 30,000 visitors every year. According to British newspaper The Guardian, Days of National Costumes and Clothing Heritage constitute one of the 20 great traditional festivals in Europe.
Would you like to learn dance steps that are carried on from generation to generation? Would you like to celebrate life and the birth of new seasons that bring growth and abundance? Come to Bela Krajina in June, the landscape of white birches, flax, the slow-flowing River Kolpa, good wine, and culinary delicacies. In Črnomelj, the largest town in Bela Krajina, Jurjevanje, the oldest folklore festival in Slovenia, has been taking place since 1964.
Idrija Lace Festival
Do you like lace? Why not make your own? Come to Idrija, where lace has been made since 1696. This special festival features lace masterpieces and it also provides an entertainment programme and tours of various attractions. Here, you can taste traditional dishes and enjoy some coffee or cake with sugar lace. Take part in lace-bobbing workshops – perhaps you can master Idrija lace.
Turn back time and enter the world of medieval Škofja Loka. The old town centre is filled with medieval stands, where you can see the rich handicraft and artisan tradition. You will be taken back to the Middle Ages by dancers and actors wearing medieval costumes, who will demonstrate age-old dances, knights’ battles, and the life of the Škofja Loka people as it once was. You can taste dishes made using recipes from the castle and traditional folk cuisine and enjoy the sounds of medieval and renaissance music.
If you ask Slovenians who France Prešeren was, everyone will certainly be able to tell you something about him and his poetry. One of the stops in the life of the greatest Slovenian poet was Kranj. On the anniversary of the poet’s passing on 8 February, when the Slovenian Culture Day is observed, time is turned back to the 19th century in the old town centre of Kranj, to the time of Prešeren. Learn about how locals once lived, what handicraft skills the people of Kranj had, taste culinary specialities, and take a carriage ride. No matter where you go, you’ll be accompanied by Prešeren's poetry.
Since long ago, the Alpine meadows of Bohinj have provided excellent pasture for livestock, which grazes on these pastures in the summer. For this very reason, Bohinj cheeses have a special flavour and are well-known in the wider area. In autumn, when the herdsmen bring the livestock to the valley, joy floods Bohinj. For over 60 years, the traditional Cow’s Ball has been held, where you can experience a number of customs related to Bohinj’s herding tradition. Of course, you just have to taste Bohinj cheeses and other Bohinj dishes.
Feel the pulse of Slovenia’s cultural heart
Just as Slovenia is a dynamic country, its cultural diversity is colourful as well. Go on a gastronomic trip from region to region, listen to music, dance, or enjoy moving pictures. Learn about the greatest icons of Slovenia and treasures of global significance under the auspices of UNESCO.