Slovenian Culture Day celebrated in neighbouring countries

Ljubljana, 6 February - The Slovenian minority, which is autochthonous in all four of Slovenia's neighbours, will mark Culture Day with a number of events, some of them with artists and groups from Slovenia. The 8 February bank holiday is an occasion to celebrate Slovenian arts and culture while also remembering Romantic poet France Prešeren (1800-1849).

The statue of poet France Preseren in front of his birth house.
Photo: Tinkara zupan/STA

Celebrations in Austria under way since late January

Slovenians in Austria will celebrate Culture Day in the states of Carinthia and Styria, with the first event having taken place already on 26 January at the regional library in Graz, where singer Nika Solce and translators Ludwig Hartinger and Erwin Köstler presented writers Alma Karlin and Srečko Kosovel.

A live cultural event with writer Ana Grilc as the keynote speaker is due on Thursday at the Austrian public broadcaster ORF's studio in Kagenfurt, a collaboration of the Association of Slovenian Writers in Austria, the General Consulate in Klagenfurt, and two Slovenian associations.

Štrik Theater from Klagenfurt has meanwhile invited puppet group Tolpa to perform Stari&Drzni, a variety theatre piece mixing puppets and stand-up comedy and focusing on old age and death. Slovenians in Graz will have an opportunity to watch The String That Saved the World, a puppet production by another group from Slovenia, KUD Transformator.

Three-day celebration in Zagreb

Under the slogan Culture Unites Us, Slovenians in Croatia will have three days of celebrations dubbed Prešeren Day, with events running in Zagreb and Varaždin.

An exhibition featuring works by six Slovenian visual artists who have received the Prešeren Prize or Prešeren Fund Prize will open on Monday at the Slovenian Hall in Zagreb, featuring Marjan Pogačnik, Jože Ciuha, Valentin Oman, Tinca Stegovec, Alenka Gerlovič and Živko Ira Marušič.

A screening of a documentary on poet France Prešeren will take place at the same venue on Friday, while on Culture Day, a wreath will be laid at the Prešeren Memorial in Zagreb to the tune of music and poetry reading. Young Slovenian musicians will meanwhile give a concert in Varaždin next week.

Main ceremony in Italy to take place in Trieste

The minority in Italy will have its main Culture Day ceremony on 12 February in the centre of Trieste at Postal Palace celebrating different cultures as the concert of prominent Slovenian composers will be a collaboration of Italy's Friuli Venezia Giulia Orchestra and Slovenian conductor Tomaž Kukovič.

The concert, organised by both minority umbrella organisations, SKGZ and SSO, together with the Josip Pangerc Central European Institute of History and Culture, will also feature tenor Gregor Ravnik, pianist Blaž Avsenik, choirs Jacobus Gallus and Devin, as well as 4 Bellows 4 Tales, an accordion quartet.

Another major event will take place at the Cultural Centre in Gorizia, where a documentary about Slovenian culture will premiere, featuring a discussion between Miran Košuta, a Slovenian writer from Trieste, and Andrea Bellavita, an Italian journalist and writer from Gorizia.

An event featuring five women from different generations - harpist Maja Locatelli, actress Nikla Petruška Panizon, singer Tamara Stanese, sculptor Zalka Arnšek and writer Evelina Umek - is scheduled for next week in Trieste.

Poetry reading, Pannonian houses and Shrovetide custom in focus in Hungary

Prešeren poems will be read in Szentgotthárd in a collaboration of the Slovenian Consulate there and the Murska Sobota unit of Slovenia's Education Institute, while an exhibition of Pannonian houses typical of the area will open at the Lipa Cultural and Information Centre.

On 18 February, Borovo Gostüvanje - a peculiar mixture of wedding and carnival customs - will be organised by minority organisations in Apátistvánfalva. According to the consulate, the custom, which nurtures Slovenian culture and traditions, has been listed as intangible cultural heritage in Hungary since 2015.

Culture Day will also be celebrated at bilingual schools in the Raba valley, while it is also celebrated by the some 500,000-strong Slovenian diaspora around the world.

© STA, 2023