Pust, the Carnival

One of the most important cultural festival in Slovenia is indeed Pust, the Carnival. Pust is celebrated in every town and city, usually in February or in early March. The Carnival takes place as a great parade in the town’s streets. During the parade, a lot of noises are made to scare away the “horrible” winter.

Kurentovanje in old Ptuj

Kurenti Flag in Ptuj

Kurenti Flag in Ptuj

Slovenian towns and cities celebrate Pust, but the town of Ptuj celebrates Kurentovanje, the grand version of Pust

The Kurentovanje represents more than a hundred years of traditions and Ptuj has the unspoken mandate to keep the tradition going and alive.

The Kurentovanje is a 10-days long festivity that celebrates the arrival of spring and  carries out traditional rituals.

The name of Kurentovanje comes from the Kurant, a key character in the celebration and also the symbol of Ptuj.

The main event of the celebration is a huge parade, always lead by the Prince of Pust and his Royal Court and Guards.

Following him are spearmen, fairies, chickens, pokači (noises makers),  šoštanjski koši (drunk man carried in a basket by their wive), and of course, tons of Kuranti!

Kurant, the mascot of Ptuj

The Kurant is the main character and mascot of the Kurentovanje. The traditional Korant outfit consists of a very colorful mask with beautiful ribbons and heavy sheep skins coat with many cow bells around the waist.  In his hands, the Kurant holds a weapon: the ježevka, a  thin wooden stick with real hedgehog spikes at the top. The Kurant parades the streets, jumping from side to side, makes a lot of noise and chases winter away!

Parade of Kurenti

Parade of Kurenti

Traditionally, only unmarried young men can put on the Kurant costume.

During the parade, young girls would tie their handkerchiefs around their favorite Kurant‘s ježevka. At the end of the parade, the Korant with the most handkerchiefs is believed to be the most popular man among the girls.

Nowadays, anyone can wear the Kurant costume and anyone can be asked to give their scarf to the Kurant – trust me, they can be quite persistent on it!

Krof, the fat donut

During the celebration of Pust, one of the most popular snacks is the Krof, a puffed donut filled with jam and generously sparkled with white sugar.

There is saying in Slovenia “Pust je masten okoli ust” which literally means “Pust is grease around the mouth” in Slovene. As any carnival, it is quite normal to have a lot of food on the table for the celebrations.

Although, in Slovenia, it is believed that if everyone is well-fed during Pust, then the year’s harvest will be good.

During the Carnival, it is required to give a token of appreciation to the Kurant and his followers (adults and children in disguise) for their help in scaring winter away and their prayers for a fertile year of harvest: sometimes a delicious Krof will be given.

Every year, thousands of people gather in Ptuj in order to participate in the Kurentovanje festivities, others  stay in their hometown for the local celebration of Pust. Carnival makes enough noises all around Slovenia that surely the winter will be scared away!

Old Town of Ptuj

Old Town of Ptuj

As a  matter of fact, winters in Slovenia are really short compared to the ones in Canada… I wonder if it’s really because of Pust? 😎

Until next time,


Day 5 – Ptuj & Maribor

Slovenia might be a small country, but there’s many places worth visiting, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot, which give me the idea to write “Slovenia on Budget”. Although you will need a car, as I don’t cover the transport and accommodations.

If you want, you can read my previous posts

Day 5 – Ptuj & Maribor

Slovenia looks like a chicken on the maps, and today we’re going around its neck, in the Podravska region. As you drive, you will notice how the landscape will change.

Ptuj, the Home of the Kurant

When I think about Ptuj, the first thing that come into my mind is Pust, the Carnival. Pust is a very traditional celebration where children and adults wear disguises and roam the streets. It is similar to Halloween, only their goal is not to get treats but to chase the winter away.

Parade of Kurenti | AnnaInSlovenia.wordpress.com

Parade of Kurenti

Every year, two weeks before Easter, the Carnival is celebrated in grand in Ptuj. Visitors from all around come to take place in the celebration.

The mascot of Pust is the Kurant, a figure with a colorful mask, cows bells and ribbons on its head, wearing sheep skin.

While visiting the Ptuj Castle, you can pass by the Slovenian traditional costumes Exhibition (near the Gift Shop). Make sure to go all the way to ring the lucky bells and take a picture!

The Ptuj Castle is sitting on a hills, the walk up is fairly easy. From there you can have a nice look over Ptuj and the River Drava, one of the most important river in Slovenia.

Old Town of Ptuj

Old Town of Ptuj

You can visit the collections inside the Ptuj Castle (5€), but we decided not to go in.

Maribor, the Oldest Vine

Maribor is the second most important city in Slovenia. Walking along Drava, you will find one of the local attraction: the House of the Stara Trta, the Old Vine – in fact, it is THE oldest, still producing vine in the World.

During the harvest season, a lot of people come to Maribor to witness the careful harvest of the Old Vine. The wine produced from its grapes is a highly valuable protocol gift. Therefore, not for sale for us, the commoners. Although, you can get your hand on a bottle of Modra Kavčin, which is produced from the same sort.

Extra Info: Slovenia has two wine-producing regions: Podravska and Coast – Primorska, there’s a lot of “wine roads” that you can follow and discover the vineyards – do not drink and drive though. The famous wine in Primorska is indeed the teran, and in Podravska, the cviček and a variety of white wines. Also, in Slovenia, on November 11th, the Feast of St. Martin celebrates the “turning of wine”.

Bonus: Slovenian Toplice

There’s many nice TopliceSpa in Slovenia, and a lot of them can be found in Podravska and Savinjska . I’ve been to only two spas in Slovenia: Olimia Thermal Spa, a more high-end natural spa and to Terme Vivat, which is smaller but cozy.

If you’re in for a relaxing 3hrs break, you can visit one of the many Slovenia spa for about 10€ (you can also look for special discount with Spar Discount Card or on 1nadan).

In five short days, I tried to show my parents as much as possible of Slovenia, in a hopefully expenses-wise way.

We also went hiking in the Dovžanova Soteska – The Hiking Path near our house.  My parents were amazed by the closest of the water and the nature.

I hope you enjoyed reading my series “Slovenia on Budget”, if you have any questions/comments/suggestions or personal experiences about Slovenia that you would like to share, please write to me via the comment box below!

Until next adventure,