Pustne šeme – Slovene Carnival Masks

Pust (Carnival) is one of the greatest Slovene folk traditions that are still alive today. Pust was ment for the masks to drive out winter, so they had to be a little scary, but also cheezy and sometimes mocking the oposite sex. They differentiate among themselves region to region, even village to village. In this topim I am going to describe some of the most famous and caracteristic Slovene masks. The king of Slovene Carnival masks is undoubdly the Kurent, called also Korant by the locals. This mask originates from Slovene Styria, from Dravsko polje near Ptuj to be precise. Kurent was originally a Slovene Slavic god of joy, perhaps even god of sexuality. Through time he became just a spirit that drives out winter when the time for Carnival arrives. There is also a legend about Kurent, I might post it here later.

There are two types of Kurents; the feathered Kurent from the village of Markovci and the horned Kurent from the village of Haloze. Back in the days (some 150 years ago) young boys dressed in Kurents went to neighbouring villages and often provoked fights. Since the Kurent wears a “ježevka” (stick with hedgehog spines), they were used in the figts aswell and there were often dead on both sides. So they were prohibited by the government. Today there is an annual festival Kurentovanje in Ptuj a few days around Carnival.

How the festival looks like:

Hudič s kurenti (Devil with Kurenti – each group has one Devil)

Ježevka (hedgehog stick)

In Cerkno are is a festival called Laufarija. This festival, which is actually more of a folklore ceremony is quite complicated, so I won’t describe it. I can only offer an article, sadly in Slovene language.
The main idea is that people of Cerkno convict Pust to death and when he is executed, winter has to leave.

Laufarji (two Ta terjasta with Pust)

Old picture of Laufarji

Running “Ta terjasta”, the most caracteristic figures of Laufarija

In Premurje are Borovo gostüvanje is often taking place in the time of Carnival. It is believed to be mostly a Slovene Lutheran tradition. If nobody in the village got married, the villagers had their right upon Borovo gostüvanje and make a proper wedding ritual in which they marry someone to a pine tree. Again it is a very complicated ritual, so I’ll spare you with all the detaild (unless you want to, then just tell me). If someone can understand Slovene to some degree, here the wiki article about Borovo gostüvanje:

Borovo gostüvanje masks in the procession

Bor (pine tree), which will get married

Also, in Cerknica, in time of Carnival “Butalci” take control over the town. They’re stupid (butast – stupid) people, so they make all sorts of monkey business. This tradition is not so old like the others, but is part of the Carnival events, so I posting them too.

Various Butalci

This are only a few and the most important Slovene Carnival masks. I will soon post more. I am also open for questions.

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