What brings luck to Slovenians?

Depending on the culture, there are many beliefs that certain things bring luck, while other bring bad luck – it is the same for Slovenians.

Holding a button when meeting the dimnikar brings luck

Dimnikar (chimney sweeper) is a very important profession in Slovenia, because many house burn logs as a main source of heat. Therefore, it is important that the chimney is cleaned and inspected.

I’ve been told that if I hold a button when the chimney sweeper comes, then something good will happen on the same day! Unfortunately, I always forget to wear something with a button when it’s time for inspection… (lol).

Seeing a spider in the house brings luck

Personally, I do not like  pajki (spiders) at all, especially inside the house. I just have this pressing urge to smack them right away. Until one day, as I was about to get rid of one, my Slovenian mother-in-law told me that spiders found in the house were believed to bring luck for a short period of time.

All I can say is… the spider got really lucky on that day.

Hearing the cuckoo brings money

One year while on a walk with my Slovenian mother-in-law, we heard koo-koo koo-koo and she told me that she doesn’t have a coin with her. I was like… uh? Apparently,  there’s a belief around that too.

If you have a coin in your pocket the first time of the year that you hear the sound of the cuckoo, then you will have enough money for the upcoming year!


From now on, for the sake of luck and money, are you going to always wear something with a button, let spiders make webs in your house or carry a coin with you? Do you know any other similar beliefs? If you so, you are welcomed to share them with me via comments!

Until next lucky round,
Anna.

Learning Slovenian Slang #003

Have you ever heard some words used by Slovenian locals that you couldn’t exactly find in a dictionary? Well, those words could be slang. Learning them is an interesting way to jump into the Slovenian culture!

*Keep in mind that I live near Tržič, which is close to the Austrian border, therefore, many of the slang are influenced by German. I’ve also used Tržiški slovar, edited by Tereza Gosar and Jožica Koder, as reference.


Fruštek

means zajtrk (breakfast).  It comes from frühstück, which translates into breakfast in German. Other meals in Slovene: malica means snack (but in restaurant, especially for workers, it is a good portion of food), kosilo is lunch and večerja is dinner.


Špajza

means shramba (storeroom, pantry).  Interestingly, it has the same meaning in Kajkavian – a northern Croatian dialect, but it origins from the Austrian-German word Speise (food).


Oštarija

means gostilna (inn, pub).  It comes from the Italian word osteria, which means tavern or pub.


Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & NumeralsSlovene Nouns & PronounsSlovene VerbsSlovene AdjectivesSlovene SyntaxSlovenian Idioms, Slovene Adverbs.

Let’s learn Slovene po domače,
Anna.

Learning Slovenian Slang #002

An interesting way to immerse into the Slovenian culture and interact with locals is to learn their slangs. It’s fun and it totally gives a break from the difficult Slovene grammar 😉 And the most amazing part of it? You probably already know some of them!

*Keep in mind that I live near Tržič, which is close to the Austrian border, therefore, many of the slangs are influenced by German. I’ve also used Tržiški slovar, edited by Tereza Gosar and Jožica Koder, as reference.


Ajnpren / Ampren

means prežganje (roux). For those who are familiar with cooking, roux is a way to thicken sauce, soup or stew by adding flour to melted fat. Sometimes, chopped čebula (onion) is added in too.


Špajza

means shramba (storeroom, pantry).  Interestingly, it has the same meaning in Kajkavian – a northern Croatian dialect, but it origins from the Austrian-German word Speise (food).


Oštarija

means gostilna (inn, pub).  It comes from the Italian word osteria, which also means tavern or pub. So, don’t be surprised if you encounter various restaurants in Slovenia with “oštarija” in their name!


Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & NumeralsSlovene Nouns & PronounsSlovene VerbsSlovene AdjectivesSlovene SyntaxSlovenian Idioms, Slovene Adverbs.

Let’s learn Slovene po domače,
Anna.

Learning Slovenian Slang #001

In my opinion, slang is an important part of the linguistic heritage of Slovenia. Knowing about them is also a fun and amusing way to learn Slovene. And the best of it? You might have heard some of them already!

*Keep in mind that I live near Tržič, which is close to the Austrian border, therefore, many of the slang are influenced by German. I’ve also used Tržiški slovar, edited by Tereza Gosar and Jožica Koder, as reference.


Auš a nauš

means ali boš ali ne boš (will you or will you not). To which you can answer: bom (I will) or nam – ne bom (I won’t).

Also note that this slang can be conjugated as am, auš, au, ava, auta, amo, aute, aujo and nam, nauš, nau, nava, nauta, namo, naute, naujo.

Britof

means pokopališče (graveyard).  Interesting fact:  the settlement Britof, which is northeast of Kranj, actually doesn’t have its own graveyard!


Firbec

means radovednež (curious).  I wasn’t even aware that it was a slang until now because one popular point of interest in Tržič is the last “firbec okno” (the curiosity window), which allowed women to peek outside without opening the window. Also, there’s a really good place to eat Restavracija Firbc’ okn  named after it.


Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & NumeralsSlovene Nouns & PronounsSlovene VerbsSlovene AdjectivesSlovene SyntaxSlovenian Idioms, Slovene Adverbs.

Let’s learn Slovene po domače,
Anna.

House Name, part of a Slovenian Cultural Heritage!

As many of you know already know, I live in a relatively old family farmhouse, with thick rock walls, tons of windows and a wooden roof. We own fields, hills, forest (and a waterfall). We have livestock such as cows, pigs and occasionally chicken.

Last May, we were approached and asked, along with other villagers,  to be part of a very interesting cultural project called “Hišna Imena” – House Name. The main objective of the project was to collect information and preserve the name of old houses.  An intangible part of the cultural heritage of Slovenia.

The Origin

Back in the “old days”, especially in villages, houses were not identified by their home address or current owner’s name. No, they were called by its house name, usually originating from:

  • name or family name of its first owner,
  • profession or characteristic of its first owner or
  • location of the house.

Sometimes, the name of the house was even based on animals, trees or the surrounding crops.

The Importance

A significant and important aspect of the house name is that the structure can have a new address or a new owner, but the house name will always remain the same.  To be passed on from generations to generations.

Unfortunately, with times, farmhouses decayed and people progressively left for the city or so. And slowly, house names were forgotten…

The House Name Plate

Thanks to this on-going project, old houses like ours now have a beautiful name plate, made of clay, proudly displayed and marking the building as part of a Slovenian cultural heritage.

Most house names in Gorenjska (the region I live in) start with “Pr’“- the local spoken dialect for pri , which means “at”.

Our House Name

Our House Name

Our house name is “Pr’ Godnáv“- “At Godnav“, which takes its origin from the family name of the first owner: Godnjov.  in 1859, which is carved above the arc of the main entrance.


It is good to note that not every house has a name plate, only those with a house name before World War II were included into this project. More information can be found here.

Proud to live in an old house!
Until next time,
Anna.

Bonfires on the Eve of Labor Day

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

Bonfire on the Eve of Labor Day

Bonfire on the Eve of Labor Day

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!

Bonfire Through Another Lens

Bonfire Through Another Lens

Taking photos of the bonfires wasn’t an easy task, but at least, it was fun trying! 😛

Happy Labor Day from Slovenia!
Anna.

Vuč u Vodo in Tržič

March 11th is the eve of St. Gregory’s day in Slovenia, a special celebration called Vuč u Vodo (luč v vodo in good Slovene) – which means “light in the water”, takes place in Tržič, a town near my home.

St. Gregory the Great

Pope Gregory I, later known as St. Gregory the Great, was recognized for his talents in writing – one of his most famous works is the Gregorian chant. He was Pope from September 3rd 590 (his new Feast day since 1969) until his death on March 12th 604 (his old Feast day).

In Slovenia, St. Gregory’s day, Gregorjevo is the Slovenian version of Valentine’s day – the day of lovers. Old folktales told by grandmothers, babice, say that birds get married on March 12th and announce the arrival of spring. Bird is a symbol of love. Old beliefs say that on St. Gregory’s day, the first bird that an unmarried girl will see as she looks up the sky will tell her who her future husband will be. Believe it or not?

Love Birds for St. Gregory's day

Love Birds for St. Gregory’s day

Vuč u Vodo in Tržič

For more than one hundred years, Vuč u Vodo has been celebrated in Tržič, the town of Shoemakers.

Back in the days, when there was no electricity, special candles were used by shoemakers to light their workshops. As spring approaches, daylight gets longer and candles are no longer needed. The shoes-making apprentices were especially happy about it and to celebrate the longer day, they decided to clean the workshops, like a huge spring cleaning.

Wooden shreds were place into small baskets, lit and put into the stream of Tržič Bistrica.

Nowadays, there are not a lot of workshop to clean, but the tradition remains and is still celebrated. Every year, the kindergartens and schools in Tržič build many little houses as an important pedagogical activity. During the eve of Gregorjeva, everybody will gather in the old town, a parade will start toward Tržič Bistrica – parents and children, with their little houses in hand, will walk to the river, light the house (or the candle) and let it go in the water.

Adorable Small House built for Vuč u Vodu

Adorable Small House built for Vuč u Vodu


This year, Tržič tried to set Guinness Record: 950 houses were built for the occasion. Unfortunately, the event was considered too “local” and it didn’t met the requirement – still an absolutely beautiful sight to see!

Beautiful and Colorful Small Houses in Tržič

Beautiful and Colorful Small Houses in Tržič

Vuč u Vodo is a great way to celebrate the (soon) arrival of spring. Another interesting festival in Slovenia is Pust, a parade that chased winter away.

How is the arrival of spring celebrated from your part of the world? Please share it with me via the comment box! 😉

Until next time,
Anna.

Wedding Traditions in Slovenia

As some of you already know, I got married recently to the love of my life (so cheesy). Most weddings I’ve attended before were inclined on Chinese Tradition, therefore I’ve discovered a few “Slovenian” wedding traditions during my own and I would like to share them with you!

The Dress

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Dress is indeed crucial for most Brides. In Slovenia (and in some others countries), the Groom is not allowed to see his Bride’s Wedding Dress until the Wedding.

The Picking-Up of the Bride

“Door Games” are quite common during Chinese Wedding. In Slovenia, when the Groom comes pick-up his Bride, the Father of the Bride opens the door and present him “fake Brides”: first, a broom disguised into a Bride, followed by disguised fake Brides (can be male or female), then the real Bride is presented (to the joy of the Groom).

The Bouquet

I’ve learnt during my Wedding Day that the Bride’s Bouquet has to be protected and watch over by the Bride and her bridesmaids until Midnight (or the Cake Cutting), as every available guests will try to steal it for money! Don’t trust anyone beside your bridesmaids… especially when you go refresh yourself!!

The Kidnapping

In Slovenia, it is quite common that the Bride gets kidnapped by available men during the wedding banquet and the Groom and his groomsmen have to find her before Midnight (or the Cake Cutting). If he fails, it brings bad omen to the marriage…

The Rice

They said the number of Rice (thrown during the Wedding Ceremony) that remain in the hairs of the newlyweds till the Wedding Night is the number of kids that the couple will have! (We had at least 20 grains of Rice left in our hairs, for sure…)


Bonus – this practice is commonly done in small villages (such as ours). If the Bride originates from that village, the neighbors build a barrage, meant to block the newlyweds. After a series of challenges, the Bride and the Groom get the blessings from the villagers and are allowed to get married.


I’ve heard from my mother-in-law (and some older couples), that during their wedding, a camel (men in disguise) with a train of guys joined in their wedding banquet. The camel had teats and the couple had to “milk” the camel. The camel had a bucket for its head, and at the end, the camel dies and the party started.

Anyone heard about that one and know the reason behind it? Or maybe you have some Wedding Traditions that you would like to share with me? Please let me know via my comment box below!

Until next time,
Anna ❤