The Kurentovanje, or Kurent Festival, is one of the worlds top ten carnivals which signifies the end of winter and welcomes spring. Its the Slovenian version of Mardi Gras and has its origins long before the Romans, in the distant mists of Celtic times.
For more than 50 years Ptuj has been hosting the largest cultural-ethnographic and carnival event in the country. Every year there are more than 120,000 visitors and 10,000 costumes from more than 10 countries.
For more details on this enchanting event, please click on the events website link we have provided.
See below a great review from Petra, the travel blogger Erratic Engineeress.
Carnival, or Pust in Slovenian, is the time before Christian Lent, which marks the end of winter and celebrates the arrival of spring. Like in many European countries, Pust is traditionally celebrated in Slovenia as a merry, silly time when people dress up in costumes and try to scare the last remnants of winter away.
There are many traditional Pust masks all over Slovenia, but Kurenti or Koranti are among the most famous, which is why the Kurentovanje Carnival festival has also made it on to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Every year the Kurenti and their companions take over Ptuj, a town in northern Slovenia, for at least a week. The whole town is decorated and the parades are truly unforgettable.
Kurenti as traditional Pust characters date back to the Pagan times and represent wild spirits, which chase away winter and help spring take over the land and bring goodness and prosperity. A typical Kurent is supposed to look as if he has just escaped from Hell and made friends with the Devil itself and is always accompanied by smaller Devil characters in black or red. He has a sheepskin outfit, black boots and a leather mask. The mask is unique for each Kurent, featuring a long red nose and an obscenely long red tongue. Kurents also have 5 cow bells wrapped around the waist and they use them at every opportunity to raise the noise and send winter packing. Their origin is somewhat uncertain, but similar traditional characters can also be found in other Balkan countries.
The annual Kurentovanje Carnival festival always draws a huge crowd and other traditional Pust characters from neighbouring towns and countries also join the parades, so if you're interested in visiting, it's best to plan ahead, because the town will be full to the point of overflowing. There is a variety of additional cultural events happening within the scope of Kurentovanje, so it's a crazy week in Ptuj for sure!
Coronavirus is causing a number of event cancellations; we provide event website links on each page for you to check the latest updates.
See our Coronavirus page here.
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