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Folk ceremoniousness and religious life

11. 9. 2013




Folk belief and religion

Geographical area



Folk ceremoniousness and religious life in Slovenia

Besides national holidays – which are religious or connected to the national history – Slovenians celebrate many unofficial holidays. Easter, Pentecost, Assumption and Christmas are the most important religious holidays when the majority of believers attend a mass while some of them also perform rituals that stem from pre-Christian beliefs. Especially Christmas and Easter are also family-oriented. Other popular holidays include New Year (public celebrations), Shrove Tuesday (masking), Valentine’s (love gifts) and St. Martin’s Day (wine festivals), but also St. Gregory’s (holidays of craftsmen), St. George’s (celebration of spring), St. Florian (celebrations of young men and firemen), Midsummer’s Eve (bonfires), St. Michael (ritual bread) and All Saints’ Day (visiting graveyards). Other popular celebrations include local patrons’ Name Day, pilgrimages and many (mostly local) celebrations that highlight local products (e.g. Cherry Festival, The Festival of Teran and Prosciutto) or traditional practices and crafts (e.g. Festival of mowers, Festival od Idrija Lace).


Making a cross from the sticks from Palm Sunday »butarica« (bundle). Some older people in rural areas still preserve the custom on the Pentecost. The cross is made at the edge of the field which is then sprinkled with holy water. The custom was documented in 2007 in Gabrje at Janče in the vicinity of Ljubljana. (Photo: Saša Poljak Istenič, 2007.)




Mass for Thanksgiving Day in the parish church of St. Nicholas at Janče above Ljubljana. On Saturday, local children bring crops, fruit (including grapes on the vine) and forest fruit and put them at the altar. Bread and wine are brought before the start of the mass. (Photo: Saša Poljak Istenič, 2009.)




Villagers in folk costumes are setting up a giant „butarica“ (bundle) in front of the parish church of St. Nicholas at Janče above Ljubljana on Palm Sunday. »Butarica« is decorated with crepe paper flowers characteristic for the area. Local women gather and make flowers several days before the holiday. (Photo: Saša Poljak Istenič, 2007.)




»Butarica« with crepe flowers is characteristic for the Janče area. It is made and set up annually, on Palm Sunday, by members of the local tourism society. (Photo: Saša Poljak Istenič, 2007.)




Inhabitants of the Janče area above Ljubljana bring »butarica« to the parish church of St. Nicholas on Palm Sunday. Some bring traditional ones, with crepe paper flowers, characteristic for the area, others carry so-called »Ljubljanska butarica«, made from coloured wood shavings, olive branches or other types of »butarica«, made from different branches and evergreen. (Photo: Saša Poljak Istenič, 2007.)



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