‘PUST’ – Carnival time
Most children look forward to the Carnival time. In Slovenia it is called ‘Pust’. Tradition derives from ancient times, when our ancestors believed that in this way they could chase away winter. The word Carnival derives from carnebale (Italian carne leva) which means “leave meat” and is connected with the time of fasting. The Slovene expression ‘Pust’ means both, the carnival time as well as the carnival mask.
Carnival celebration in our country usually starts on Carnival Saturday. Many Slovenian towns organize carnival parades and other celebrations. Children and adults put on different masks – ‘maškaras’. Children go from house to house, asking for little money, sweets or a doughnut.
Little Red Riding Hoods, clowns, lions, rabbits, flowers, Pippi Longstockings, witches, various children’s cartoon characters, politicians … fill the streets, schools and homes. Schools and local communities organize carnival dances and processions.
This year’s Carnival procession in Moravče
Kurent or Korant is the most known traditional Slovenian carnival figure, typical for the region of Ptuj. Traditionally, the Kurent’s outfit used to be reserved only for unmarried men, but nowadays Kurent can be unmarried or married men, as well as well women and children. The Kurent wears a massive sheep skin garment, its head is covered by a furry hat and horns and a long red tongue hangs out of its mouth. Around its waist hangs a chain with huge bells attached to it, which produce a lot of noise and do a great job of chasing away winter.
(A picture of Kurent)
(C) Andreja Vavpetič & Zdenka Wicher