It's been a while since I've been to a parade of any sort, I think the last one was for Australia Day a few years back. This year I was lucky enough to experience Kurentovanje Festival in Ptuj with my family and friends.
This year the carnival ran from the 2nd to the 13th of Febraury. The Ptuj event is designed to preserve the cultural heritage and ethnographic tradition of the Ptuj region as well as of Slovenia and stems from a 100 year tradition. We attended on the 11th of February. The day of the International Carnival Parade. This particular day was quite cold, and sitting in the shade wasn't the best idea, but that was the best place to get a good view of the parade and get good photos as it was pretty busy by the time we arrived.
The parade started at 1pm, and went for a few hours. Some people were dressed up in costumes, while the other rugged up in casual wear. The carnival pulls around 10,000 participants every year, with participants coming from all different countries.
The main attraction of the event is the Kurent. Back in the day only unmarried men were able to wear the costumes, today any man, woman or child can. You can't miss them dressed up from head to toe in sheepskin, with bells around their belts, and you can hear them as they make their way down the parade jumping and shaking, with people of all ages participating. Seriously though the kids are really cute jumping down the street, really getting into the event. The noise of the bell is supposedly supposed to chase away Winter. The end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, even though it feels like Winter isn't going anywhere soon with snow falling outside my window as I write this.
Participants are all dressed differently, some dressed as gypsys with loud traditional music playing, school kids get involved dancing down the street. The parade is vibrant and the atmosphere is amazing with music, laughing and children waving as people walk by. This is one event I wouldn't miss if you happen to be visiting in February.
During this period, known as Pust/Fašenk which usually runs for two weeks they also have night events with famous Slovenian and Croatian Singers, from Severina, Jelena Rozga, Jasmin Stavros, Prljavo Kazalište to Modrijani. If you go to the events be sure to buy tickets ahead of time, because on some occasions they will sell out and be sure to dress up because everyone gets involved. I'm not usually one to get dressed up because I have an irrational fear that I will be the only one dressed up, like Reece Witherspoon in Legally Blonde but instead of holding my head high I'd probably cry and be scarred for life.
Who's been to this fantastic event before?
J E S S I C A x