Kurentovanje starts without mass gatherings for second year
Ptuj, 2 February - Kurentovanje, Slovenia's largest carnival, starts on Wednesday with an event in which the traditional costumed figures Kurenti put on their bells for the first time. There will be no mass gathering of the Kurenti, and the entire festival will be held mostly in a virtual form for a second year in a row.
The festivities start with the traditional Kurent's Jump on Candlemas on 2 February, when people dressed in the Kurent carnival costume gather around a bonfire, jumping around it and ringing bells to symbolically chase away the winter and evil.
The traditional event that looks to replace the winter and evil for the spring, happiness and good harvest has been taking place for the last two decades at the homestead of Matevž Zoki, the 2nd Carnival Prince, in Budina, east of Ptuj.
Only after this ceremony the Kurenti are able to start their door-to-door rounds, which made the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2017.
However, it will not be held as an organised, mass event this year due to Covid restrictions, so the host has called on the Kurenti to carry on with the tradition and gather in small groups at their homes at midnight.
The main part of the 62nd Kurentovanje festival will be held in a restricted, and mostly virtual form between 19 February and 1 March. The competition for the best carnival doughnut starts today, with the winner to be announced on 17 February.
This year there will be no mass processions and concerts that usually attracted tens of thousands of visitors from Slovenia and abroad to Ptuj, the oldest Slovenian city.
This year's events will include carnival tours for tourists in Ptuj, an exhibition of ethnographic carnival characters and masks, carnival workshops hosted by the Ptuj Library and a competition for the most beautiful carnival decoration.