Festivities galore in Shrovetide period
Ptuj, 18 February - Shrovetide festivities in Ptuj, Slovenia's carnival capital, will kick off on Saturday, bringing over 200 events to the town, famous for its local costume characters, the kurenti, in more than a week of revelry. Shrovetide festivities will also be held elsewhere in the country.
In Ptuj, Kurentovanje, the traditional Shrovetide festival dedicated to the kurenti - the age-old sheepskin costumes with cowbells, will get under way with an ethnographic procession.
Traditional masks from across the country as well as UNESCO-protected traditional figures from Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary and even Venezuela are scheduled to make appearances in the promenade.
Events, including parties, concerts, ethnographic lectures, will culminate on Sunday, 26 February, before Shrove Tuesday with a big international parade with guests from around the world, the city of Ptuj said.
Mayor of Ptuj Marko Senčar, who will give the keys to the city to Carnival Prince Maksimiljan Gregorič for the period, expects more that 100,000 visitors from Slovenia and abroad in the eleven days of festivities.
The carnival, which was placed seventh in the world and third in Europe by Lonely Planet in 2015, is expected to get on UNESCO's representative list of intangible cultural heritage in the autumn.
While the carnival in Ptuj may be the most known, traditional ceremonies are held across the country.
In Cerknica, to the south of Ljubljana, festivities will culminate a week after tomorrow, when a procession featuring traditional local figures kicks off "exactly at around 12:32 PM".
In Ljubljana, a traditional Dragon's Carnival will be held next Saturday featuring Slovenian literary heroes as the capital was given the permanent title of UNESCO's City of Literature in December.
In Cerkno, a town in western Slovenia, the 25 "laufarji" costumes, some of which are believed to originate from pagan rituals, will take the stage on Sunday before Shrove Tuesday.
The festivities across the country will conclude on Tuesday, 28 February, with the death of Pust, as the Shrovetide period is called in Slovenian.