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Carnival period culminates with parades

Ptuj/Ljubljana/Cerknica/Cerkno, 26 February - The carnival season peaked in Slovenia on Sunday with parades in traditional carnival centres, such as Ptuj (NW) and Cerknica (SW). Around 60,000 visitors were reported from Ptuj, where the parade featured more than 2,500 costumed figures from ten countries.

Cerkno
Laufar at carnival parade in Cerkno.
Photo: Martina Kolenc/STA

Cerkno
Carnival parade in Cerkno.
Photo: Martina Kolenc/STA

Cerkno
Carnival parade in Cerkno.
Photo: Martina Kolenc/STA

Cerkno
Carnival parade in Cerkno.
Photo: Martina Kolenc/STA

The festivities in Ptuj, which has developed into a truly international affair, were again centred around the kurenti, the age-old sheepskin costumes with cowbells, 600 of which were chasing away the winter in Slovenia's oldest town today.

Along with 30 Slovenian groups, the 57th Ptuj parade also saw 13 troupes from Scotland, Croatia, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, Macedonia, Belgium and Serbia.

"It is nothing unusual here to see a Scotsman and Irishman play the [Slovenian hit] Golica on the bagpipes, while we dance along with friends from Croatia and Belgium," head organiser Branko Brumen said about the friendly international atmosphere in Ptuj.

Several thousand visitors were also reported from Cerknica, which turns during the carnival into the home of the Butalci, a caricature of Slovenians as a nation, based on satire by Fran MilĨinski (1867-1932).

While organisers said they usually avoid politics, the mayor of Butale was renamed Ronald Kramp (Ronald Pickaxe) this year.

Another Slovenian carnival town with a long tradition is Cerkno in the west of the country, known for its 25 "laufarji" or "runners" costumes, some of which are believed to originate from pagan rituals.

Around 2,000 witnessed there today the mock trial in which the Pust - a horned creature clad in moss that personifies winter - is convicted to death for all the bad things that have happened locally and the world at large in the past year.

The festivities across the country will conclude on Tuesday, 28 February, with the death of Pust, as the Shrovetide period is called in Slovenian.

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© STA, 2017