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Aleš Kravos Kurentovanje Ptuj 2019.jpg
Korent or Kurent
Also called5th season, Europe's greatest outdoor ethno carnival
SignificanceCelebration prior to fasting season of Lent.
CelebrationsParades, parties, open-air performances
Begins11 days before Ash Wednesday
(57 days before Easter)
EndsShrove Tuesday
(47 days before Easter)
2022 date15–25 February
2023 date6–16 February
2024 date19 February – 1 March
Related toCarnival, Ash Wednesday, Lent

Kurentovanje is Slovenia's most popular and ethnologically significant carnival event first organised in 1960 by Drago Hasl. This 11-day rite of spring and fertility highlight event is celebrated on Shrove Sunday in Ptuj, the oldest documented city in the region, and draws around 100,000 participants in total each year. In 2016 proclaimed as the 7th greatest carnival in the world by Lonely Planet.[1][2][3][4]

Its main figure, known as Kurent or Korent, has been popularly (but incorrectly) reinterpreted as an extravagant god of unrestrained pleasure and hedonism in early Slavic customs.[5][4] In today's festival, groups of kurents or kurenti wear traditional sheepskin garments while holding wooden clubs with hedgehog skins attached called ježevke, the noise of which is believed to "chase away winter".[4] In this way, the presence of kurenti announces the end of winter and beginning of spring.[1] Being a kurent was at first a privilege offered only to unmarried men,[1] but today, married men, children and women are also invited to wear the outfit.[6]

In 2010, the 50th anniversary of the first organized instance of this festival was celebrated.[6] As the host of the festival, the town of Ptuj was admitted into the European Federation of Carnival Cities in 1991.[7][8]

In 2017 Door-to-door rounds of Kurents was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.[9]

The first "modern" version of the Kurentovanje festival[edit]

One of the first instances of Kurentovanje in 1961.

On Shrove Sunday, 27 February 1960, the first modern version of the festival, called Kurentovanje, was organized in Ptuj, featuring traditional carnival costumes from Markovci. Carnival participants lined up in a procession. The procession leaders were spearmen followed by ploughmen, "rusa" (a bear), fairies, cockerels, and Kurents, all dancing to the sound of music played by a local band. The performance and customs of each traditional costume were explained to the gathered crowd via loudspeakers. The event met with tremendous success and aroused general interest which encouraged the organizers to continue.

One year later, the Markovci costumes were joined by ploughmen from Lancova Vas, log-haulers from Cirkovci, and mourners from Hajdina. For the first time, carnival (non-ethnographic) groups presented themselves in the afternoon. In 1962 the event reached beyond local boundaries by inviting other carnival figures such as lavfarji (< Bavarian German Laufer 'runner'[5]) from Cerkno and borovo gostuvanje (literally, "pine wedding participants") from Predanovci in the Prekmurje region.


The international aspect of the event was acquired in the following years when local and Slovene traditional costumes were joined by costumes from: Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Japan and many other countries. The number of participants and spectators grew over the years, with thousands visiting the Carnival events to marvel at the spectacular costumes and take part in the fun.

For many years, the main part of the event had been the presentation of individual traditional carnival groups. This took place either on the Saturday or Sunday morning prior to the afternoon procession.

Extending the festival's program[edit]

In 1994, the festival's program was extended to more than two days, featuring a multitude of events, performances in the square in front of the city hall, the burial of the Carnival, and an entertainment program in the carnival tent. From 1999 on, the Prince of the Carnival event was introduced with the enthronement of the Prince that takes place on 11 November (St. Martin's Day). This has become an important cultural and entertaining event in itself.[citation needed]

During the past few years, the carnival has begun precisely at midnight on 2 February—Candlemas. Budina, one of the mostly rural suburbs of Ptuj, stages the event. This event includes a huge bonfire around which, at the stroke of midnight, Kurents—for this event equipped relatively simply with a chain and five bells and a wooden club—start to dance, thus announcing the beginning of carnival. From this moment on Kurents are "allowed" to make their habitual rounds.[citation needed]

Nowadays the festival lasts for approximately eleven days, starting on Saturday, a week before Shrove Sunday, when only traditional carnival costumes form a procession on the streets of Ptuj and when the Prince of the Carnival is bestowed the honour of ruling the town during the carnival period. Each day features performances by individuals in costumes and many other types of entertainment which take place on the square in front of the town hall and in the carnival tent.[citation needed]

Activities culminate with Saturday's procession of traditional carnival costumes, the children's carnival parade, the burial of Carnival and the return of power to the mayor of the town. However, because there are sometimes fewer days between Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday, other activities are of shorter duration as well. Consequently, this strongly influences the entire program and development of the event each year.[citation needed]

Festival origins[edit]

The idea of an organized carnival event in Ptuj came about in the 1950s, when the carnival costumes, accompanied by a band, spontaneously formed processions on Shrove Tuesday. This event continued to grow, thanks in no small part to Ptuj cultural historian Drago Hasl (1900–1976). Hasl, an indefatigable organiser of Kurentovanje from its beginnings until the 1970s, was strongly convinced that this event could help prevent what he saw as the extremely rapid disappearance of carnival habits and traditional customs in surrounding villages. In 1959, Hasl, strongly backed by those who shared both his views and enthusiasm for the event, proposed that the Historical Society of Ptuj take over the organisation and the implementation of the carnival event. He suggested that the event should be named after the most well-known costumes Kurent – and Kurentovanje was born. Hasl prepared a draft regarding the content and outlining the major guidelines to be followed to transform Kurentovanje into an event of ethnographic significance. His vision of an event comprising the unique carnival figures and habits from the Ptuj region, which could be joined at a later stage by other traditional Slovene costumes, helped to make the event grow into a festival of costumes. He additionally planned to expand the content of the event by introducing contemporary carnival costumes.[citation needed]

Kurent or Korant - the main carnival figure[edit]

Kurent or Korant is the best-known traditional carnival figure of the entire region, as well as in all of Slovenia. The name is probably derived from the common noun kurant 'messenger, lackey, footman', borrowed from a Romance word from Latin currens 'running'—thus sharing a semantic base with the Cerkno term lavfar.[5] While Kurent groups might not all look exactly the same, it is the most popular and frequent traditional carnival figure in the Ptuj and Drava plains, and in the Haloze Hills.

Kurent or Korant, as it is known today, has its origin in popular tradition. Traditionally, the Kurent's outfit was reserved for unmarried men, but nowadays Kurent-Korant can be unmarried or married men, as well as women, children, and animals.

The two types of Slovene Kurent-Korant are the so-called "feathery" (from the town of Markovci) and the "horned" ones (from Haloze), with the difference being mainly in the look of the head covering. The Kurent-Korant wears a massive sheepskin garment. Around its waist hangs a chain with huge bells attached—the resulting noise does a great job of "chasing away winter", which is, ostensibly, the Kurent's function. The Korent also wears heavy boots and special red or green leg warmers, while the head is covered by a towering furry hat festooned with ribbons, and a mask typically sporting a long, red tongue.[10] A wooden club is normally carried in the left hand.

International carnival parade[edit]

In 1960 and 1961, the event was held on Shrove Saturday. Since 1962, the event has been held on Shrove Sunday. Between 1962 and 1991, the program was scheduled in two parts: abefore noon there was parade of traditional costumes only in the city stadium, and the carnival was held in the town streets in the afternoon. With gathering of over 50,000 people each year on Sunday Shrove, this is the biggest Slovenian daily public event next to Planica Ski Flying event.[11]

First kurentovanje (1960). At main square.
First kurentovanje (1960). At market square.
First kurentovanje (1960). At main park.
Second kurentovanje (1961).
Fifth kurentovanje (1964).
Edition Year Day Date Visit
1 1960 Shrove Saturday 27 February   6,000
2 1961 Shrove Sunday 11 February   14,000
3 1962 4 March   20,000
4 1963 24 February   N/A
5 1964 11 February   N/A
6 1965 28 February   30,000
7 1966 20 February   30,000
1967 5 February   cancelled
8 1968 25 February   20,000
9 1969 16 February   20,000
10 1970 8 February   N/A
11 1971 21 February   35,000
12 1972 13 February   N/A
13 1973 4 March   40-50,000
14 1974 24 February   40-50,000
15 1975 9 February   40,000
16 1976 29 February   45,000
17 1977 20 February   40,000
18 1978 5 February   N/A
19 1979 26 February   40,000
20 1980 17 February   N/A
21 1981 1 March   40,000
22 1982 21 February   40,000
23 1983 13 February   N/A
24 1984 4 March   N/A
25 1985 17 February   N/A
26 1986 9 February   N/A
27 1987 1 March   N/A
28 1988 14 February   45,000
29 1989 5 February   40,000
30 1990 25 February   50,000
31 1991 10 February   N/A
32 1992 1 March   N/A
33 1993 21 February   30,000
34 1994 13 February   N/A
35 1995 26 February   N/A
36 1996 25 February   25,000
37 1997 9 February   40,000
38 1998 22 February   50,000
39 1999 14 February   10,000
40 2000 5 March   50-60,000
41 2001 25 February   45,000
42 2002 10 February   50,000
43 2003 2 March   60,000
44 2004 22 February   N/A
45 2005 6 February   50,000
46 2006 26 February   N/A
47 2007 18 February   40,000
48 2008 3 February   50,000
49 2009 22 February   55,000
50 2010 14 February   60,000
51 2011 6 March   65,000
52 2012 19 February   60,000
53 2013 10 February   30,000
54 2014 2 March   50,000
55 2015 17 February   55,000
56 2016 7 February   40,000
57 2017 26 February   60,000
58 2018 11 February   60,000
59 2019 3 March   45,000
60 2020 23 February   50,000
61 2021 14 February   virtual
  • 1972 - only on stadium event, no city carnival.
  • 1992 - no classic carnival, limited to four city squares only.

Main events[edit]

Since Event Day
1998 Opening Ethnographic Parade 11 days before Ash Wednesday
2019 Night spectacle Shrove Friday
2013 Burgeois Parade Shrove Saturday
1960 International Carnival Parade Shrove Sunday
1960 Burial of the Carnival Shrove Tuesday

Princes of carnival[edit]

First princ of the Kurentovanje carnival was inaugurated on 11 November 1999, as now became tradition. At the initiative of Branko Brumen, one of the main organisers of Kurentovanje and vice president of FECC, as he saw this folklore on other carnivals in Europe long before Ptuj. In 2000 first prince "took" mayor's office for the period of eleven days of Kurentovanje carnival. Since 2013 princes have two-year mandate.[12]

First edition (1960) at market square.
# Prince Town mandate Year
1 Gašper I 26 February - 7 March   2000
2 Matevž Zoki II 17 - 27 February   2001
3 Don Zlatko III 3 - 12 February   2002
4 Noble Moscon Rajh 22 Februar - 4 March   2003
5 Cajnko Friderik V 14 - 24 February   2004
6 Noble Holoneški VI 3 - 8 February   2005
7 Klinc Hauptmann of Spuhlja 18 - 28 February   2006
8 Slavko Noble Kacherl 10 - 20 February   2007
9 Majer of Cirkovce 3 - 5 February   2008
10 Noble Vegan of Thurn and Valsassina 14 - 24 February   2009
11 Knight Senčar, Noble Bernhard of Ptuj 6 - 16 February   2010
12 Noble Baron Jakob Breuner of Markovci 26 February - 8 March   2011
13 Noble Jurij Oprossnitzer 11 - 21 February   2012
Two-year mandate
14 Knight of Dornava 3 - 12 February  
22 February - 4 March  
15 Bertold of Treun 9 - 19 February  
3 - 9 February  
16 Noble Janez Maksimilijan Gregorič 18 - 28 February  
3 - 13 February  
17 Jakob Baron Zekel of Videm 23 February - 5 March  
15 - 25 February  
18 Knight Hinko Sodinski, noble Gall 6 - 16 February  
19 February - 1 March  

Outside Slovenia[edit]

Cleveland, Ohio, USA has one of the largest Slovenian American communities outside of Europe. Centered around St. Vitus Church, the St. Clair–Superior neighborhood began hosting a local version of Kurentovanje in the 2013. The celebration is conducted on the Saturday prior to Ash Wednesday.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Kurentovanje in Ptuj | slovenia.si". slovenia.si. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  2. ^ Refresh.si. "Mestna občina Ptuj". ptuj.si. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  3. ^ Stefanatos, Haris (21 February 2014). "Ptuji ready for the traditional Kurentovanje festival". Independent Balkan News Agency. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Kurentovanje - The Slovenian rite of spring and fertility - SNPJ". snpj.org. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Snoj, Marko (2003). Slovenski etimološki slovar. Ljubljana: Modrijan. p. 336.
  6. ^ a b "Znamenito kurentovanje na Ptuju". slovenijanadlani.si. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Kurentovanje - Culture of Slovenia". culture.si. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Municipality of Ptuj - Culture of Slovenia". culture.si. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti". UNESCO. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  10. ^ "The hairy creature scaring away winter". BBC. 11 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Tednik Archive (1961-2018)". Digital Library of Slovenia. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  12. ^ "List of all princes of Kurentovanje carnival". kurentovanje.net. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  13. ^ https://www.clevelandkurentovanje.com/about
  14. ^ https://www.ohiomagazine.com/ohio-life/article/cleveland-kurentovanje

External links[edit]