Kurentovanje Carnival (Carnival of Ptuj)

Kurentovanje Carnival (Carnival of Ptuj)
Photo: kurentovanje.net
Carnival is a Western Christian festive season occurring before the Lenten period. Some countries have their own names for carnival celebrations. For example, the Swabian-Alemannic Carnival celebrated in Switzerland, parts of Germany and Alsace is known as Fastnacht. And Slovenian Carnival is called Kurentovanje. The Kurentovanje Festival is held every year in the city of Ptuj.

Kurentovanje is a 10-day celebration of spring and fertility which culminates on Shrove Sunday, the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent, and ends on Shrove Tuesday. The first modern version of the Ptuj Carnival was held in 1960. It featured a carnival procession of traditional costumed characters accompanied by folk musicians. The first festival was met with great enthusiasm, so it was decided to make it an annual event. The Carnival of Ptuj became international in the following years when Slovene costumes were joined by costumes from Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Austria, Hungary, Italy and other countries.

The name of the carnival is derived from the name of the most famous traditional carnival figure in the Marlovci region, Korant or Kurent. Its origins are unclear. Some hypotheses associate it with the Celtic tradition, while others claim that the roots of Kurent can be traced back to the cult of the Greek goddess Cybele. Be that as it may, Kurent is now the most recognizable traditional character in Slovenia. Kurents wear massive sheepskin garments, belts with huge bells, special leg warmers and heavy boots. But the most important part of the outfit is the mask with a long tongue hanging out and horns or feathery ears.

The Ptuj Carnival used to start on Candlemas (February 2), a Christian holiday that commemorates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. However, today Kurentovanje kicks off a week before Shrove Sunday, always starting on Saturday. The Carnival begins with a spectacular procession featuring Kurents and other traditional costumes. After that, the opening ceremony is held. During the ceremony, the Prince Carnival receives the keys to the city form the Mayor of Ptuj and becomes the ruler of the town during the carnival period.

Each day of the Ptuj Carnival is filled with performances, parties, children’s parades, torchlight processions, nighttime parades, and other events and activities which take place in the heart of the city, in front of the Town Hall. The Carnival culminates on Shrove Sunday. The main highlight of the day is the International Carnival Parade that features costumed characters representing different countries.

The Kurentovanje Carnival officially ends on Shrove Tuesday. The ending of the festive season is marked with the Burial of the Carnival. The Prince Carnival officially gives the authority back to the Mayor, and Lent begins.

Kurentovanje Carnival in Ptuj

Photo: Ekke




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