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This episode is dedicated to a unique tradition in Slovenia—Kurentovanje. This ancient pagan festival features friendly demons who chase away winter and invite in the spring. Kurents’ door-to-door rounds are one of the best-known carnival traditions in Slovenia, and Kurent is one of the most common and popular carnival characters, which was first documented in 1880. In 2017, UNESCO added door-to-door rounds of Kurents/Korants to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Their favorite haunt is Ptuj in northeastern Slovenia, where tourists flock to see them every February. To learn more about this striking festival, with locals dressed literally in monster costumes, we spoke with experienced photographer and travel writer who follows carnivals around Europe, Rudolf Abraham; Ann Abel, an American travel writer and editor at Forbes, and Uros Cajnko—a local who, every year, dons one of the Kurent costumes and helps chase winter away from Slovenia and invite in the spring.
So, what better day to publish the episode than on the first day of spring?
We invite you to read about another heart-warming tradition held in Slovenia to welcome spring: St. Gregory's Day, celebrated in March, is not only the Slovenian version of St. Valentine's Day, but also the holiday that celebrates the arrival of spring. Places with a long-standing tradition of crafts and trade believed that St. Gregory “tosses the lamp into the water” as the days have become longer and artificial light is no longer needed in workshops.
For more inspiring stories and ideas for spring getaway in Slovenia, visit www.slovenia.info.
Feel Slovenia the Podcast is brought to you by the Slovenian Tourist Board and hosted by Dr Noah Charney.
Sound Production: Urska Charney