Unlike in Canada, Labor Day, also known as the International Workers’ Day is celebrated on May 1st (and on May 2nd) in Slovenia. During this holidays periods, many Slovenians take advantage of the day offs to go on short holidays in Croatia, at the sea or in the thermal spas – you will need to book ahead if you plan to go anywhere during that period.
For those who decided to stay home, celebrations are as promising and interesting!
Impressive and Giant Bonfires
On the Eve of Labor Day, a giant bonfire – kres , is built in different locations within Slovenia and burnt through the night.
For centuries, bonfires have been used, notably during the Great Turkish War to signalize dangers and attacks to surrounding villages. Bonfires were usually built high and at location where it could be easily seen from afar.
Bonfires have been part of the Slovenian Cultural Heritage since a very long time, for rituals and such.
The significance of kres on the Eve of Labor Day is to remind the workers of their rights to have a day off on the next day!
Nowadays, people gather around bonfires, which are still built in visible location – like a hill, as part of a social event – Kres are often associated with music, drinks and food.
The traditional custom of kres still attracts a lot of people as it is part of the Slovenian culture. Volunteers built the bonfire and firemen light it at the given time. Diligent fireman are present at the site as long as the bonfire is lit to ensure the safety of the event.
In 2007, the Guiness World Record of the tallest bonfire was built in Boštanj to celebrate Labor Day! The measured high was 43.44m!
Taking photos of the bonfires wasn’t an easy task, but at least, it was fun trying! 😛
Happy Labor Day from Slovenia!