An important traditional and religious holiday in Slovenia is Easter, Veliko Noč in Slovene. It is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Sunday before Veliko Noč is the Cvetna Nedelja, the Flower Sunday which commemorates the Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. In Slovenia, each family will gather a beautiful bouquet of branches called Butarica – where I live, we call it a Beganica. On that day, families bring their Beganica to the Church for blessings.
The Beganica is made of branches of 7 different trees, which represents the seven sins. The kind of branches vary slightly from region to region. In Gorenjska, we use oljka (olive branch), leska (hazel branch), vrba (willow branch), bršljan (ivy branch), tisa (yew branch), brin (juniper branch) and pušpan (boxwood branch). A colorful paper ribbon is attached at the top of the Beganica. Fruits such as apples and oranges are also added to the bouquet.
The Beganica is kept through the year and used during three important occasions: Christmas Eve, New Year Eve and the Twelfth Night.
The Thursday before Easter is called Veliki Četrtek – Maundy Thursday and it commemorates the Maundy (the Washing of the Feet) and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.
It is believed that to obtain a fertile year of harvest, one shouldn’t work the land on Veliki Petek – Good Friday. It is also a day of fasting.
On Velika Sobota – Holy Saturday, families put their Easter meal into a basket and let it be blessed by the Church. The basket contains suho meso (dry meat) which represents the body of Jesus, rdeči pirhi (red died eggs) to symbolize his blood, hren (horserasdish) for the nails that crucified him and the typical Slovenian cake – Potica, along with bread and other pastries as his crown of thorns.
On Veliko Noč – Easter, is a day to contemplate. We usually visit friends and family to wish them a Happy Easter and exchange eggs. The egg symbolizes love and friendship, as well as resurrection.
Velikonočni Ponedeljek – Easter Monday is an official public holiday meant for relaxation and rest.
The Easter eggs
In Slovenia, decorating Pirhi – Easter eggs is an important part of the celebration. The eggs can be dyed any colors, but some have to be red, as it represents the blood of Jesus.
One of the most famous and beautiful Easter folk-craft is indeed the Pisanice, a delicately crafted eggs from the region of Bela Krajina.
Back in Canada, Easter was just a long-weekend holidays for me, but in Slovenia, the celebration seems much more meaningful. Different culture bring different traditions.
Happy Easter and come discover Slovenia with me,