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SLOVENIA: Pust’- Shrove Tuesday

Polona Zalokar 2007-02-18

Image:Polona Zalokar

Pust’ is a holiday celebrated 40 days before Easter. People get dressed up in funny costumes and they want to scare away the winter and welcome the spring.

There are several carnevals around Slovenia.
Some towns have specialized in them: in Ptuj this is called ‘kurentovanje’and 'kurent' is a well-known mask in the world. It is the greatest attraction from the city of Ptuj.

It is a symbol of spring and fertility, a caller of new life.


The most known Slovene Shrovetide mask is the ťkurentŤ or ťkorantŤ, as the local people from Ptuj call him. This famous Slovene mask originates from the Ptujsko polje plain although its inhabitants don't believe in the magic power of his chasing away winter, any more. However we can see many ťkurentsŤ at Shrove time in Slovenia, especially around Ptuj. Boys that are dressed in these mighty and fearful masks run around villages and cause noise with bells around their belts.
A ťkurentŤ wears a fat yellow fur coat that extends to the ankles. On his head he has wooden forked branches on which there are many coloured pieces of paper. From his mouth hangs a long red tongue and above it he has a big nose. He hangs cow bells on a chain around his belt. He wears dark shoes and has red wollen socks.
In his hand he holds a wooden stick called a ťje�evkaŤ on which are handkerchiefs, which he gets from girls. The korant with the most handkerchiefs is the most popular among the girls.


Image:Mojca Poharc

koromatiŤ is a typical Istrian shrove mask. The whole preparation starts already on December 26 when local boys gather in a pub and choose their leader, a ťkapoŤ. Their clothes are mostly prepared secretly. They are usually prepared after February 2. It is customary for ť�koromatiŤ to go from village to village where they visit different houses. They bring joy and laughter, so every family is happy to meet them.


Image:Mojca Poharc

ťButalciŤ are inhabitants of a town called ťButaleŤ . They consider themselves very intelligent and important although they are very stupid. They constantly compete with their neighbours. The town ťButaleŤ is supposed to be in the range of Cerknica so in time of Shrovetide Tuesday Cerknica becomes known as ťButaleŤ. There they have their extraordinary meetings of the ťButaleŤ country on which they discuss top political issues. At the Shrovetide carnival people who are masked as ť ButalciŤ wear simple clothes and have big paper masks on their head. They look a little bit like farmers. They also do foolish things as proof that they are real ťButalciŤ, that is stupid.


ťLaufarjiŤ from Cerklje are one of the most famous and most original Shrovetide groups in Slovenia along with the Kurents from Ptuj. They have distinguishing wooden apparel made from natural materials ( ivy, spruce, straw and moss). These masks are called ťlarfeŤ . The boys who wear the mask must be over 18 and still single. The main laufar character is called ťPustŤ. His family consists of masks called ťta br�ljanastiŤ, ťta tirjestaŤ, ťta stariŤ, ťta staraŤ and others. The ťLaufarŤ family includes 26 figures. They start gathering right after New Year every Sunday after mass. At first, only two of them go out, and then, every Sunday, more of them join the gathering, (until Pust, Shrove Tesday, when everyone goes out for the first time ).They go to every house to get good things, like meat, pork ears and hoofs. Through the masks ťLaufarjiŤ introduce features and disadvantages of individual groups within the population. It s interesting how they blame ťPustŤ for all kinds of things, and in the end they sentence him to death.


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