February is the time of year to celebrate the end of winter and prepare for spring. Celebrations like Rio Carnival or the Venice Carnival attract visitors from all around the world, meanwhile Slovenia has some very unique traditions which we call Pust.
What is it all about
The traditions vary from town to town, each of which has its authentic characters or activities related to Pust. The most famous of all figures is the Kurent. It originates from the oldest town in Slovenia, Ptuj. The carnival that takes place in this ancient town, which history dates back to the Stone Age, is called Kurentovanje and is a part of the Slovenia UNESCO sites. The mask can be visited year round at Ptuj Museum. A sight that cannot be missed while touring around Slovenia.
Characters that scare away winter
Slovenes tend to believe that the Kurent is a monstrosity that appears for Pust to scare away winter. His costume is made of feathers, wooden horns, leather tongues and it is decorated with colorful ribbons. He is covered in a coat of sheepskin and has five cowbells tied around his waist. Covered in a coat of sheep fur with five cowbells tied around its waist it is always accompanied by high boots, red socks and a wooden club covered in hedgehog skin on the top.
Other celebrations in Slovenia include characters such as the witch Uršula or Butalci (meaning ridiculously stupid inhabitants), both of which refer to the carnival in Cerknica. In addition, many other towns hold parades with various traditional and modern or even provocative characters.
Donuts without a guilty conscience
Krofi (sing. krof) are Slovenian donuts that are usually eaten with pust. More precisely, it is a special donut filled with apricot jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Even if you visit Slovenia outside the carnival season, we recommend a visit to Gostilna Trojane, which is best known for its delicious krofi. Slovenian heritage and traditions are often represented through gastronomy, this delicious Slovenian dessert is one of them.
»Imate kaj za pusta hrusta?«
… meaning »Do you have anything for the munchy Pust?« which is a quote that Slovenian children ask during door-to-door visits, which is a tradition similar to Halloween, Children dressed up in various costumes receive krofi, candy, or even a symbolic amount of money from each house in return for scaring away the winter.
Ash Wednesday is the day when events unfold across the country for the burning of Pust, signifying the end of the carnival season and the beginning of spring.
Due to the global pandemic, the celebrations will be most probably postponed, we decided to highlight the Slovenian festival tradition, as it is a sight not to be missed while touring around Slovenia.