Kurentovanje Festival 2020

Kurentovanje is Slovenia's most popular and ethnologically significant carnival event first organized in 1960 by Drago Hasl. This 11-day rite of spring and fertility highlight event is celebrated on Shrove Sunday in Ptuj, the oldest documented city in the region, and draws around 100,000 participants in total each year. In 2016 proclaimed as the 7th greatest carnival in the world. 
Its main figure, known as Kurent or Korant, has been popularly (but incorrectly) reinterpreted as an extravagant god of unrestrained pleasure and hedonism in early Slavic customs. In today's festival, groups of kurents or kurenti wear traditional sheepskin garments while holding wooden clubs with hedgehog skins attached called jeĹževke, the noise of which is believed to "chase away winter". In this way, the presence of kurenti announces the end of winter and beginning of spring. Being a kurent was at first a privilege offered only to unmarried men, but today, married men, children and women are also invited to wear the outfit.

 We all got up early and made our annual trip to the Kurentovanje festival; it's one of our favorite ones to attend.  We got there just as it began and saw the mini bike brigade warming up.

 New to the festival this year was the appearance of bees.

 Bees, bee hives....

 and bee keepers.




 Our favorites guys were back!

 As where the Slovenian candy throwers.


 This was a new addition too.



 I'm not sure what the significance of these faces is, but I am researching it.

 We all agreed that this was the cutest of all of the kurents.



 The queen surrounded by accordion players.

 The whip master about to drive the kurents on.


 And here they come!

 Bells jingling, clubs swinging.


 They begin to drive winter away.  Unfortunately, winter never actually showed up in this area this year.  However, it was still lots of fun.

 The devil wears red.

 The Kurent mask is a major work of folk art in Slovenia. 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. The final touch is a long, red tongue which dangles down to the chest. 

The Kurents travel throughout the town, moving from house to house to scare off evil spirits with bells and wooden clubs that are topped with hedgehog spines. A devil acts as the leader of the procession. He is covered in a net to catch souls. The Kurents are presented with the handkerchiefs of young girls. These gifts are attached to their belts. The people of the town smash clay pots at the feet of the Kurents for good luck and good health.


 The devil has a skull on his back.

 An errant kurent.  I think he was on his cell phone.  Wait until he catches up with the whip master!


 I'll post a lot more pics tomorrow.  There was so much to see.

Comments

TARYTERRE said…
looks like a good time was had by all. thanks for sharing the Kurentovanje festival and it's history. very interesting for sure.
So much fun! The bees! The whip master! The kurents with their bells and twigs and . . . mardi gras beads? And that straggler kurent on his cell phone!
Leanna said…
I love this. I for one would have a few Kurents walking through my house and yard to drive away evil for the year. Then I would have them stay for lunch. What could it hurt? But really, that looked like a fun parade. I like that.
Guillaume said…
Oh I wish I had been there. Love these sorts of critters.
Rain said…
LOL at the kurent on his cell phone hee hee...that was great Joyce. The costumes are so wonderful, I love everything about this festival. It looks like you had fantastic weather too!
Kay said…
Oh gosh! This looks like so much fun. I’ve never heard of such a festival.
Valerie said…
AMAZING! I love these Old World festivals, rooted in paganism, ornate and elaborate. Thank you for sharing!