Korentovanje Festival

 The Blog tech and I drove to Cleveland on Saturday to attend the Korentovanje Festival.  This is the only other festival held outside of Slovenia.  The St. Clair area of Cleveland houses the largest Slovenian settlement outside of the country. The pronounciation is: cur-an-to-va'nia
Click any pics for a closer look.

 When we arrived, we were a bit disappointed.

 The area is very rundown.

 The entire area was desolate with very few people on the streets.

 We thought that we might have wasted our time driving all this way.

 And then we caught sight of this. Yes....BINGO!



 The first ones either of us had ever seen.  These costumes were custom made in Slovenia.  They are made of sheep skin and feathers and horns.  They all wear 3 large bells on their backs and they have long red tongues.

 Their job is to run around the village and chase away the spirits of winter.

 They are accompanied by a band, of course.

 What a lively group, we had so much fun.

 The kurents were wondering who this strange guy is.

 And off they go to the start of the parade.

I will show you much more of the Korentovanje Festival tomorrow. If you would like to read more about it, this is from a site I found:

Kurentovanje stems from a hundred-year-old tradition of celebrating the Carnival in the areas of Dravsko and Ptujsko polje

Photo: Tomo Jeseničnik
Kurent (also known as korant) is the central traditional carnival figure in this part of the world, and the most popular and widespread traditional carnival figure in the areas of Ptujsko and Dravsko polje and Haloze. The Ptuj carnival, called Kurentovanje, which is the largest carnival festival in Slovenia, with a long tradition, was named after it. The Ptuj event is designed to preserve the cultural heritage and ethnographic tradition of the Ptuj region as well as of Slovenia. Kurentovanje,  which is one of the most important traditional events in Slovenia and Central Europe, stems from a hundred-year-old tradition of celebrating the Carnival in the areas of Dravsko and Ptujsko polje, and always brings magical joy and good humour. The present day kurent stems from folk tradition. In the old days, only unmarried men were allowed to put on the kurent costume, while today anyone, even a woman, a married man or a child, can wear it. The main role that kurents have today is the preservation of carnival cultural heritage and tradition. In the lowland as well as the mountainous part of Haloze in the Ptuj area, the kurent’s role has always been to drive away winter by jumping from side to side, bell-ringing and rituals, which is why they are thought to have supernatural powers. In the country,  the arrival of the kurent has always announced the beginning of the new life which comes with the springtime. Therefore, this creature has always been respected.

Variety of costumes

Photo: STO
There are two types: the one from the town of Markovci is covered in feathers; the other comes from the town of Haloze and wears horns. Each kurent wears a mask or a cap made from sheep skin, although sometimes rabbit fur is also used.
Its ears are made of bird wings, the nose is long and trunklike, and its moustache is made of maize, while white beans threaded on a string serve as teeth. A long red tongue of red cloth or leather is made to look as frightening as possible.
The other type looks the same, except for the cow horns and ears which are made of animal skin. Kurents usually wear a light coloured sheepskin, although they can sometimes be black. They continually whirl and jump around to sound the five cow bells that they wear fastened around their waists by metal chains. They also wear green or red leg warmers and heavy work boots. In their hands they hold a ježevka, a thin wooden bat with real hedgehog spikes at the top end which used to serve as a weapon. Ježevka is decorated with colourful handkerchiefs which a kurent has been given by girls.
The kurent with the most handkerchiefs is believed to be the most popular among girls. The greatest disgrace a korant could face was to have his mask taken off. At least one devil, who wears a red costume made from cloth, always accompanies a larger group of kurents. Devils can move more freely than kurents, so they help them in many ways. They also always frighten children.
It is possible to say that a kurent also known as korant is a mascot, a symbol and an ambassador of Ptuj, the Ptuj region and the whole of Slovenia. Kurentovanje in Ptuj is not just another festival, but an experience which one remembers forever.


dustbunny8 said…
Thank you for sharing this! I had no idea any of these traditions had been brought over to the US.Have you seen the book "Wilder Mann"? I think you would like it, really the only thing that I have seen on European traditional dress like this.
I've never heard of this festival or these folkloric characters before. MARVELOUS! Isn't human culture and inventiveness amazing? Looking forward to tomorrow's post!
What a wonderful festival. I daresay that I could use some Korents in my area to drive away the winter and usher in springtime.
Anonymous said…
How fun :-) I've never heard of this, the ones I know from the balkans are from Croatia, Bosnia or Serbia and they have never mentioned anything like this.

You sure need those guys to get rid of Your cold winter :-)

Looking forward to more!

Have a great day!
Patty Woodland said…
Looks like it was a blast
Hippo said…
No animals were hurt during the making of this production.

Blimey, they are wearing a whole menagerie! Birds wings and hedgehog spikes...

Slovenia is a beautiful country at any time of the year and well worth a visit. The food is excellent.
Guillaume said…
Oh I love this! Love the folkloric costumes! Carnivals-like events in winter remind me of the Carnaval-Souvenir of Chicoutimi. Sadly it doesn't exist anymore.
Barb said…
Very interesting!! I have never heard of anything like this!
Kay said…
Oh gracious! I've never seen anything like this. I can't believe this is from Cleveland.