Ptuj Carnival
Ptuj Carnival


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The Carnival's official duration is eleven days, and it callskurent.jpg itself the unique name of  Kurentovanje. For this period outside everyday time and space, will be filled with music that makes you want to dance,  beautiful and original carnival masks will delight or frighten you as Kurent groups consider this gathering their most prestigious annual event. During this ancient rite of spring, it is easy to entertain yourself among the numerous gatherings and parties enjoying local and famous foreign music groups where everyone can enjoy excellent local wines and the traditional "Ptuj chicken" that abounds. The carnival time is when the past is given form in the present; it bursts out joyfully as a time for the soul to express itself after remaining calm the rest of the year.

In Slovenia, there many colourful carnival customs with more than a hundred different recognized mask styles. This is also the country's most celebrated  mask festival and there will be rewards for the most creative and beautiful.  This Kurent or Korant event is well known throughout Slovenia and increasingly finds itself on international visitor maps. 

The Carnival season begins with the new year but official events organized by City open two weekends before Shrove Tuesday During the Carnaval evenings the town lights up, with art and theatre performances taking place throughout the streets,  squares and special Carnival tents. Carnival Tuesday assures a return to normalcy with a burial ceremony for the Kurentovanje at noon.

MAIN EVENT: International Carnival Parade and Mask Contest
The biggest Kurent parade is on Carnival Sunday when many groups come from surrounding countries of Austria, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Macedonia and Bulgaria to parade  through the streets

WHEN: The traditional carnival starts on the Saturday before Carnaval Saturday, more than a week before Shrove Tuesday, with the gathering of typical Slovene carnival masks and figures.

More info:



FECC GALA Dies Natalis

5-6-7th October 2007 
--- Ptuj -- Slovenia ---



Since 1960, Ptuj has been the stage for the annual traditional carnival event called Kurentovanje, the biggest organised carnival event in Slovenia. The membership in the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC) since 1991, has without any doubt helped the Ptuj carnival to distinguish itself from other carnivals and gain an international reputation.

Commemorative Postal Stamp

The Slovenian Post Office has issued a special postal stamp for the occasion of the FECC Dies Natalis. Furthermore the committee has made a special commemorial  medal.Das Slovenische Postwesen hat eine FECC Sondermarke herausgegeben anlässlich des Dies Natalis, weiterhin hat das Kommitee einen Erinnerungsorden machen lassen.
To honor Slovenia's oldest town, and the home of the Kurent and Korant style of Carnival

For more info about
Ptuj in 1996 could fairly call itself the
World Carnival Capital since it was host of the FECC Carnival City Summit in May

Carnival Brochure [pdf] || Dies Natalis Brochure [pdf]

The Kurenti of Slovenia are clearly related with the `Krampusse`(Austria) Souvacars (Bulgaria) ,  and Zvoncari (Croatia) but they have no written history. The name of the Drava river is Celtic in origin and this ancient tribe which once dominated Europe is most often cited in reference to these bell-ringing groups who ward off evil in the coming new season.

 Kurent, also known as Korant, has been mentioned as a god in Slovenian folk-mythology, as recorded in folk-tales of Carinthia in southern Austria. Like Bacchus or Dionysus, he is a god of unrestrained revelry and high-spirits.  Traditionally the Kurent's outfit was reserved only for unmarried men  although this is no longer strictly observed, the rigors of the costume portrayal do favor the young and strong and boys to men initiation is still an important social outcome of the folk tradition.

The masks are made of leather, with two holes cut out for the eyes, and a single hole cut out for the mouth. The holes are surrounded with red paint. A trunk-like nose is attached, along with whiskers made of twigs and teeth made of white beans. He wears dark shoes and has red wollen socks. A wooden club with a hedgehog skin at one end called "ježevka" is usually carried in its hand. A distinctive Slovenian touch is a long, red tongue which dangles down to the chest.

The whole preparation starts already on December 26 when local boys gather in a pub and choose their leader. At the beginning of February the Korants are ready to journey from from village to village where they visit different houses. They bring joy and laughter, so every family is happy to meet them.

At the head of the procession is often the Devil  (hudicc, zlodej, vrag) , wrapped in a net to symbolize his capture although some say it is to catch souls himself. Behind the Kurenti , the Oraci ("the ploughers") pull a small wooden plough, scattering sand around to represent the sowing of seed. Young girls present Kurents with handkerchiefs which they then fasten to their belts and housewives smash clay pots at their feet in the hope that this will bring health and luck to their households.

 The Kurents move from house to house in procession, scaring off evil spirits with their cow bells and wooden clubs topped with hedgehog spines. They continually whirl and jump from side to side to sound the bells and chains as they create a deafening noise despite their 50 kilo costumes. These sounds of the season can be heard throughout the Slovenian villages all day and into the night but no where with more gusto than in Ptuj during the carnival.

Be careful these harbingers of spring with tongues down to their waists carry mischief at the ready. Tradition says a Kurent is allowed to grab any girl on the street and dance with her. The best way to be released from this obligation is to present the Kurent with a handkerchief.

Ptuj is Slovenia's oldest town, widely acclaimed as its most scenic, and also home the oldest festival tradition in the country;
---the pre-Lenten Kurent style of Carnival.
Learn more about the many relatives of Europe's oldest living festival tradition by traveling to
Karneval Fast Facts
* Kurentovanje is visited by more than 100,000 people every year,
* Saturday and Sunday parades are watched by 60-70,000 people
* in eleven days, there are some 15-20,000 people expected to party in the carnival tent
* afternoon programmes in the town are followed by more than 1,000 people every day
* Kurentovanje is becoming more and more recognizable in Slovenia and abroad, and more than 100,000 spectators follow daily information by means of mass media
* participants in parades are numerous: the Saturday parade boasts more than 1,000 participants, and the Sunday parade over 2,000 and around 600 Kurents
* Kurentovanje is the most prominent cultural and ethnographical event in Slovenia
*Ptuj, traditional and carnival centre of Slovenia, combines Kurentovanje together with other carnivals or "fašenk" in neighbouring villages of Markovci, Cirkulane, Dornava, Videm, Cirkovci, Bukovci.

Annual Events
Ptuj's 3 other famous  annual fairs which originated in the Middle Ages:
  • Juri (24 April),
  • Ožbalt (6 August), and
  •  Katarina Fair (25 November).
Snow Ski Center Events
Mariborsko Pohorje is famous for its traditional Golden Fox Trophy, the annual World Cup women’s alpine skiing competition held in early January. The ideal conditions made possible by the snow stadium, the outstanding organization, and the regular attendance of 25,000 fans, by far the largest audience for women’s skiing competitions, have contributed to the renown of this Slovene ski center around the world. Also held here are two World Cup snowboarding championships, a WorldCup telemark competition, and anFIS World Youth Championship race.
Maribor's Mariborsko Pohorje is a low mountain range whose highest peak reaches 1347 meters and is groomed for 100 days of great downhill per year.
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