THE FESTIVAL CALLED KURENTOVANJE

kurentovanje1.gif (45035 bytes)

kurent postcard.gif (22339 bytes)Kurent, also known as Korant, is the central figure in Kurentovanje, a rite of spring and fertility which may date to the time of the ancient Slavs. Kurent has been mentioned as a god in Slovenian folk-mythology, as recorded in folk-tales of Carinthia in southern Austria. Its origin has not been established and has been the subject of ethnological, mythological and historical research. The annual festival of Kurentovanje marks the Shrovetide (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday - initiating the forty day period before Easter) in the northeastern Slovenian city of Ptuj (in the Stajerska region) and nearby towns. It is celebrated for ten days up to Shrove Tuesday. The festival has its origins in a parade in Ptuj of 1939. This helped to revive and re-establish the custom practised in only the Ptuj area in Slovenia. Similar rites take place in Hungary and in Serbia, but the Ptuj Kurentovanje is among the most extravagant. This period of the year is celebrated throughout central and western Europe, and is called "carnival" (the European Reformation of 16th century caused the carnival to disappear in northern Europe, and it is unknown in England and Ireland). Carnival is enjoyed throughout all of Slovenia.

Kurent is regarded as a god of unrestrained revelry and high-spirits. He has been compared as a 'Slovenian Dionysius'. The Kurents - formed in groups - are dressed in sheepskins with cowbells dangling from their belts or chains. On their heads they wear huge furry caps decorated with feathers, sticks or horns and coloured streamers. The leather face masks have eye-holes outlined in red, long trunk-like noses and enormous red tongues that hang down to the chest. They wear hair made from horse-tails.

The Kurents move from house to house in procession, scaring off evil spirits with their cow bells and wooden clubs topped with hedgehog spines. They continually whirl and jump from side to side to sound the bells and chains they wear. These sounds are heard throughout the villages all day and into the night.

Different and ancient customs prevail throughout the villages; such as before the Kurent arrives at the house, the housewife throws a pot from the attic, to the first person who visits her in the day. This is according to an old belief that this will help the hens to lay eggs.The Kurents carry a basket to collect gifts from the households. A devil (hudicc, zlodej, vrag) accompanied the Kurent, dressed in all black or red, and was covered by a net to catch souls, leads each group. Young girls present Kurents with handkerchiefs which they then fasten to their belts, and housewives smash clay pots at their feet for luck and good health.

 

 

VINTAGE-TIME

Traditional and agreeable labour when family members, invited guests and groups of tourists gather in Haloze and Slovenske Gorice. Traditionally, men busy themselves with preparing baskets to put grapes in, a wine press and barrels in which sweet grape-must will be poured. At the same time, women prepare a feast where home-made bread and "potica¨ (cake) are never missed out. Merry singing comes from vineyards during the grape harvest, thus creating a pleasant atmosphere. Basket-carriers bring the harvested grapes to the press from which flows sweet must that turns into wine after a while. The labour in vineyards ends in the autumn, and starts again once the winter is over.

 

                                               PTUJ WINE CELLAR

Approximately three million and a half litres of must are brought from Haloze and central Slovenske Gorice every autumn to the Ptuj underground cellar, which also prides itself on the biggest barrel in Slovenia still in use.

The cellaring is still done following the tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages and even to antiquity. Deliciousness and tradition are at home in the truly special part of the cellar, in the archives, where the oldest wine in Slovenia, vintage 1917, the variety of ZLATA TRTA (Golden Vine) is stored, among other bottles.






The visit of the cellar is very interesting as the ambience of medieval environment created by the first cellarers - Minorite monks - is still present. A brief survey of the wine culture in Slovenia ending with a toast is the beginning of an unforgettable experience in the Ptuj Wine Cellar.

Martinovanje

 The preservation of on old tradition called “martinovanje” (St. Martin's day) is also connected with the viniculture of the region. “Martinovanje” is a special cultural event taking place on the 11th of November with accompanying events, such as the wine tasting.. All this takes place in the streets and squares of the town.Then a little bit later, in the evening, there is a lot of concerts and other festivals in Ptuj.At this time people drink a lot of vine and eat special food  ( like geese )

 

 

TRADICIONAL DISHES

 

In the past, there were differences between nutritious habits in the town and in the countryside. The food of the countryside was based on what was available at a farm. The everyday menu did not vary much, and poultry and pork dried meat was on the table only for holidays. Usually, food made of flour and potatoes was served. Instead of sugar, people used honey. Fruit was considered as children's food.
The food in town was heavily influenced by the Vienna cuisine. Meat dishes, such as various steaks and goulash, were frequently served. There were also various sorts of soups, cakes, rolls and cookies.
The consumption of coffee became very popular in the middle of the 19th century, and has been ever since
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SOUPS:At the beginning, soups were popular only in certain regions. In Styria, sour soup, flour soup and cream soup were generally on the menu.

MEAT DISHES: The way to prepare meat dishes was largely influenced by culinary habits in castles, monasteries and rich noble houses. Styria is especially known for dry sausages, black pudding (sausage), white sausage, and meat from "tunka". On St Martin's Day, when the must turns into the wine, a goose or a duck is normally served.

 

VEGETABLES AND POTATOES:They represent basic ingredients of the Slovene cuisine. Among the most popular dishes are cabbage, turnip, beans, potatoes, and cucumbers. Different types of dumplings are also extremely popular.

DESSERTS:A roll, or locally a "potica", is definitely the most well-known dessert and is mainly served on special days. Its name derives from the fact that the dough and the filling are rolled together in equal proportions. Raised doughnuts and brittle wafers are popular too.

BREAD: Bread was first mentioned not earlier than in the 13th century. The white bread used to represent a symbol of wealth. Among the tastiest types of bread are wheat bread, whole-wheat and rye bread.

Typical dishes of Ptuj are in particular: chicken Ptuj style, Ptuj-style sauce, Styrian soup, turkey with "mlinci" (sort of small pancakes), black pudding sausage, cucumbers with potatoes, cabbage Styrian style, Styrian dough rolls, buckwheat and corn roll, Haloze "gibanica" (pastry topped with cottage cheese and cream), mushroom soup with buckwheat groats, pig's trotter stew, dry home-made sausages, meat from "tunka", and white sausage.

 

ENTERTAINMENT-THE NIGHT OF PTUJ

Inhabitants of Ptuj are fond of all kinds of entertainment and they willingly participate in numerous events the purpose of which is merry-making, entertainment, transmission of oral traditions and their preservation.



The Day of Ptuj Municipality is always on the first Saturday in August, as a remembrance of the distant past, the year 1513, when the archbishop Lenart of Salzburg approved of a new, amended and adjusted statute of the town of Ptuj.


During summer months, there are numerous entertaining events which culminate in the Summer Night of Ptuj. Town squares become stages for music groups, and at midnight fireworks illuminate the sky above Ptuj. Some 10,000 visitors come into town for the occasion.

The fairs in Ptuj

 

There are three traditional annual fairs in the town : on St.George¨s day ( 23.April ), on St. Oswald¨s ( 5.Avgust ) day and on St. Catherine¨s day ( 25. November ).So today this three fairs are called : St. George¨s fair, St.Oswald¨s fair and St.Catherine¨ s fair.

 

The town becomes very lively during those three day. On St.Catherine¨s day the town becomes simply a tight squeeze.Merchants come from near and far. Many of them come from villages on the other side of Crotian border.The sellers erect their marketstalls as early as two or three days before the fair begins.The traiding begins early in the morning . The buyers flock to the town on foot, by bicycle, by cars…..The sellingand buying zeal increases, and reaches its peacj at mid-day.The merchants are selling a lot of differnet things, like quality craft products, cheap industiral goods and a lot of colourful kitsch.Among other things there is a wide selection of second-hand articles, including clothes, whic are displayed on the ground.In the other part of the town some other products are displayed.We can not forget the sellers of the wooden articles.They sells differnet wooden household untensils.

 

It is very exciting to be part of this town when all these things are happening, so at the end we, as the inhabitants of Ptuj, have to invite you to come to Ptuj especially,on three special days, 23.April, 5.Avgust, 25.November and you will feel the heartbeets of our town.

 

 

PEASANT LABOUR

Between Haloze and Slovenske Gorice spreads a flatland called the Drava field. Farmers generally earn their living from vine-growing and agriculture. This area is known as the potato country due to various excellent potato dishes which are part of every meal. The area is also known for the onion, or "lük" in the local dialect near Dornava.

Potato harvesting on smaller farms is again a pretext for a merry get-together and feasting in which family members and neighbours take part. On bigger farms, potatoes are harvested with machines. If you wish, you can join in. Visit the farms in September or October and help out with the labour. You will enjoy it!