🇸🇮 Kurentovanje Slovenia

Kurentovanje or the Kurent Festival has been described as one of Europe’s top ten festivities and dates back to Pagan tribes. 150,000 visitors, 10,000 participants, 4,500 masks and over 150 events!! Here is everything you need to know about celebrating at Kurentovanje!


Location Map

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Your Essential Guide to Kurentovanje!

    Here is everything you need to know about attending Kurentovanje! Dates, parades, events and more! Find out why Lonely Planet said Kurentovanje was one of the ten most interesting carnivals worldwide, alongside Venice, Rio and New Orleans!

    When is the Kurent Carnival 2024?

    This spring and fertility festival is celebrated in the lead up to Ash Wednesday. The 2024 Kurentovanje will begin on Saturday 3 February and go until Shrove Tuesday 13 February, 2024.

    What is the Kurentovanje or Kurent Carnival?


    Courtesy of www.ptuj.info

    The Kurent Carnival is one of the world’s top ten carnivals! Kurentovanje brings magic, joy and a touch of mysticism to everyone. The Kurentovanje is a 10-day long spring and fertility carnival that is all about chasing away the winter spirits and welcoming in the spring.

    The Kurenti Carnival has been described as the Slovenian version of Mardi Gras. It is Slovenia‘s most popular and significant carnival, but also arguably one of the most popular carnival celebrations throughout central Europe as well.

    The carnival attracts more than 150,000 visitors every year and carnival groups from Austria, Croatia and Bulgaria also come and partake in the celebrations, assisting the local people of Ptuj to build up the land of the Kurent.

    The carnival aims to maintain Slovenia’s incredible cultural heritage and traditions. In 2017 the Kurent Festival was penned onto the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

    Where is Kurentovanje?

    kurent festival

    Courtesy of www.ptuj.info

    The Kurent Festival takes place in Ptuj pronounced “pah-tooey” which is Slovenia’s oldest town. Ptuj is located in the northeast of Slovenia and Is home to around 17,000 inhabitants. The locals of Ptuj are known as Ptujčani in Slovene.

    Ptuj is full of history and charm! It has Roman shrines, cobbled streets, churches and monasteries. Its most famous attraction is the town’s Renaissance castle. This fascinating town has been inhabited since the late Stone Age.

    Ptuj dates back to Roman Settlements in the first century. It actually developed from a Roman military fort. Ptuj was a strategically important site on the Drava River that was part of a prehistoric trading route that ran between the Baltic Sea and Adriatic.

    The main carnival is held in Ptuj however there are also smaller lesser known parades that occur in the nearby villages that are more intimate and don’t attract the tourists. One of those Kurentovanje celebrations occurs in a small municipality called Markovici just south of Ptuj that has no fences separating onlookers from the festivities, so the parade attendees and parade participants all mix together.

    How do they celebrate Kurentovanje?

    kurenti carnival

    Courtesy of www.ptuj.info

    Kurentovanje is a week full of parades and events. Carnival here is a joyous time full of fun, mischief, colour, culture and tradition. Everyone wears carnival costumes and during the day there are lots of street performances as well as artists and musicians performing and adding colour and energy to the city’s streets and squares.

    🇺🇸 Houston Caribbean Festival

    The nights are about feasting and drinking. It is important that one must consume copious amounts of the local donuts known as Krofs. Carnival in Ptuj is about honouring customs, traditions and carnival characters that have been kept alive for centuries and passed down from generation to generation.

    The International Parade is the peak of carnival and the event closes with the burial of the carnival masks. Kurentovanje is the time of year when customs that have remained hidden all year come to life. It is a time when you can get loose and let your hair down, be silly and wear any mask or costume you desire.

    What is the history of Kurentovanje?

    kurent festival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    The origins of Kurentovanje festivities are strange but it seems to have evolved from early Slavic, Celtic and Illyrian traditions. The name of the festival is taken from the central carnival character the Kurent. Back in ancient times it was believed that the Kurent had the power to usher in spring by chasing away the winter months.

    The Kurenti

    kurenti carnival

    Courtesy of www.ptuj.info

    If you attend carnival in Slovenia, you may notice large hairy sheep looking creatures which stand up-right and dance around. They may look a little scary but that’s only because they are meant to ward off the evil winter spirits. These folkloric characters known as the Kurenti or as Kurent or Korant, is the main and most famous carnival character in Slovenia.

    Kurentovanje features about 4500 people who dress up as Kurents. The Kurenti in ancient times was believed to posses’ powers to chase away the evil spirits. They represent fertility in many realms including agriculture as well as animals and humans

    Kurentovanje Carnival features hundreds of people dressed up as Kurents. There are two types of Kurents: the ‘feathered’ ones and the ‘horned’ ones. The Kurent costume is essentially a mask and a sheepskin hat and outfit with cow bells hanging from a belt and red or green socks with black boots.

    The Kurent costume mask is considered a major folk art in Slovenia and in the whole country there are only two masters of Kurent masks left! The Kurent mask is made from leather with holes for both eyes and mouth that are surrounded by red paint.

    Traditionally only unmarried men were able to be Kurents but today anyone is allowed women, children, married men and even animals can be a Kurent.

    The Kurent Carnival Events

    This 10-day spring and fertility festival is celebrated in the lead up to Ash Wednesday:

    • Midnight  The Kurent’s Jump
    • International  Painting Ex-Tempore
    • The Opening Ceremony and Ethno Parade
    • Presentation of Traditional Carnival Characters
    • The Day of Kurent and Korant Groups
    • Night Spectacle
    • Bourgeois Parade
    • International Carnival Parade
    • Children’s Parade
    • Shrove Tuesday and the Burial of the Carnival
    🇰🇾 Braccanal Carnival

    UNESCO recognised door-to-door rounds of the Kurenti

    kurenti festival

    Courtesy of Katja Gönc, Archive of www.visitptuj.eu

    One of the most unique aspects of this carnival celebrations is the door-to-door rounds that the Kurenti do. This is a Shrovetide custom that sees groups of Kurenti and one or more devils go from house to house throughout the village.

    They form a circle in the owner’s yard and jump around the owners whilst loudly ringing noisy cow bells and brandishing wooden sticks to chase away all the evil spirts. This is also supposed to usher in happiness to the owners.

    Kurentovanje 2024 Carnival Program

    Here are the main carnival events that will take place at the 2023 Kurentovanje carnival.

    Friday 2 February, 2024

    • Current Jump: This is a mystical event that kicks off at midnight when the Kurent first make an appearance, they put on their bells and begins to chase away the evil winter spirits.

    Saturday 3 February, 2024

    • Intercontinental meeting of traditional carnival characters and masks: A unique event where the streets of Ptuj will be filled with all the traditional carnival characters including the Kurents, Gypsies, rusas, cockerels, bears and spearman.

    Wednesday 7 February, 2024

    • Day of Kurent and Korant Groups: Wednesday is always reserved for the Kurent and Korant groups. Hundgres of horned and feathered Korants/Kurents walk through the city streets.

    Friday 9 February, 2024

    • Night Parade: This is an illuminated parade where the streets of Ptuj are filled with a crew of mysterious characters who will create a fantasy show filled with music and fire.

    Saturday February 10, 2024

    • City Carnival Corso: Today all the townspeople put on a mask and join the promenade with all the other masked townspeople. This is a wonderful tradition to behold!

    Sunday February 11, 2024

    • International Carnival Parade: Today is a key event of carnival. Thousands filled the streets to watch the parade. There are thousands of traditional costumes around telling the stories of past, present and future.

    Monday 12, 2024

    • Children’s Parade: Keeping carnival going for the next generation is important. Today the kids get to march in the parade.

    Shrove Tuesday 13, 2024

    • Shrove Tuesday Celebrations & Burial of Pust: Today people come out and party in the streets and all the bars. The celebrations go on into the wee hours of the morning. It is finished with the burning of the carnival mascot.

    The Opening Ceremony & Parade Kurentovanje

    kurent carnival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    • Parade route: Prešernova ulica – Slovenski trg – mestna tržnica

    On the first day of carnival only the Kurent’s will parade through Ptuj in an opening ceremony. One of the Kurent’s is selected and named the Prince of Kurentovanje. The prince will rule over the city for the duration of carnival! The other characters featured at this parade include Diggers, Gypsies, Plowers and Rusa.

    🇲🇽 Mazatlan Carnival

    Night Parade Kurentovanje

    kurenti carnival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    • Date: 9 February, 2024
    • Location: This will take place across the streets and squares of Ptuj

    This is a fun event that occurs after dark. That is because it is when all the mysterious and magical creatures and beasts come out and wander the town at night. You will see lots of cool costumes wandering about the town. The whole town is overtaken by shadowy demons.

    Bourgeois Parade Kurentovanje

    kurenti carnival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    • Location: This will take place across the streets and squares of Ptuj

    The Bourgeois Parade began way back in 1873 when the locals were enchanted with Pustovanje. It has been a tradition ever since then for the people to dress up in bourgeois fashion and parade through the streets and squares of Ptuj. It certainly feels like you have gone back in time!

    International Carnival Parade Kurentovanje

    Kurenti carnival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    • Date: 11 February, 2024
    • Location: This will take place across the streets and squares of Ptuj

    The highlight of Kurentovanje is the massive masked parade which takes place through the town centre. In this parade the Kurenti can appear tame in comparison to the other costumes. This parade takes place on Carnival Sunday also known as Shrove Sunday and several thousand people will participate in the Kurentovanje International Carnival Parade.

    The parade is led by the Carnival Prince and Princess who are surrounded by guards dressed in 17th century outfits and following them is the carnival procession. The parade features hundreds of Kurents who dance around making an insane amount of noise from the cow bells attached to their Kurent costumes.

    Other carnival groups are also dressed in other traditional carnival costumes. They could be dressed as gypsies, fairies, bears, flamenco dancers and there are also amazing colourful floats. Accompanying the performers and characters are lots of marching bands who play live music and traditional Slovenian folk music.

    The carnival parade also features the whip crackers that make a lot of noise and who are also there to chase wintre. The Kurent characters and their incredible Kurent masks and Kurent costumes are the absolute highlight of the carnival parade.

    Groups from all over Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia participate in the parade. Massive amounts of tourists and locals crowd together along the parade route to witness the spectacular event. It is a festive day filled with lots of fun and celebrations.

    Children’s parade Kurentovanje

    Kurent festival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    • Date: 12 February, 2024
    • Parade route: Vičava – Dravska ulica

    To ensure the tradition of Kurentovanje gets passed onto the next generation there is also a very adorable parade for the kids. Lots of cute costumed kids parade through the streets of Ptuj and it is a fun day for the whole family.

    The Burial of Pust Kurentovanje


    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    • Date: 13 February, 2024 kicking off around noon.
    🇺🇸 NOLA Caribbean Festival

    This is an especially festival event that starts around midday when everyone has a day off work and heads to party in all the bars and streets in the city. The celebrations go on long into the evening. Kurentovanje will finish on Shrove Tuesday with the burial of Pust which symbolically close carnival for another year.

    Where to stay in Ptuj?

    kurenti carnival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    There are several accommodation options in Ptuj from hotels, hostels, guesthouses, B&Bs or renting a private apartment. Many locals will also rent out their rooms during carnival which can be a great budget alternative. Price will be anywhere from about $60US to $200 US depending on how comfortable you wish to be.

    Here are some great accommodation options close to Kurentovanje

    • Muzikafe Bed and Breakfast – Centrally located B&B, only a short walk to all the squares and castles.
    • Panorama Rooms – Very close to the celebrations
    • Park Hotel Ptuj – Sitting on the edge of old down, it is within walking distance to all the carnival activities.
    • Rooms and Apartments Silak – A charming B&B in old town, only steps from the Drava River.
    • Hotel Mitra – a hotel with rich tradition (house coffee Kipertz and Osterberger wine cellar)
    • Hotel Mitra – a hotel with rich tradition (house coffee Kipertz and Osterberger wine cellar).
    • Terme Ptuj – offers different types of accomodation  – from 4*Superior hotel (118 rooms) with pools, sauna world and wellness centre, bungalows***, camping**** with new mobile homes, big thermal park with termal water

    Check out Booking.com to see some Ptuj accommodation deals.

    Book your Hotel and Flight for the Kurentovanje


    What to Do and See in Ptuj?

    kurent festival

    Courtesy of www.visitptuj.eu

    Ptuj is full of history!! It is the oldest town in Slovenia and actually dates back to the Stone Age! It was actually an important center and camp in the Ancient Roman Empire! The Town may look like the finest style of Hungarian-Austrian Architecture but the grounds below Ptuj actually hide many valuable remnants of history. In fact it is actually forbidden to dig deeper than a meter down because no one knows what may be discovered.

    One of the most outstanding attractions in Ptuj is the Ptuj Castle! This castle dominates over the town, sitting proudly on a hill above the town. The castle is also home to a museum that hosts the biggest collection of musical instruments in the whole of Slovenia. And the view from the castle is magnificent!

    The castle is only one of the incredible things about Ptuj. Another incredible attraction is the Roman tombstone from the 2nd century! The town is a maze of colourful winding lands that are just so pleasant to walk around and explore!  There is something new to discover behind every corner whether it be some unique architecture, an interesting backyard or a cool café. Ptuj is actually a really trendy and cool town with great bars, hotels, restaurants and cafes.

    🇪🇸 Aguilas Carnival

    The surrounding region of Ptuj is also stunning and offers some of the best wineries in Slovenia. You can walk along the river, explore the town square and cobblestone laneways or eat some delicious local cuisine in one of the local restaurants.

    Kurentovanje is a carnival celebration not to be missed. It is one that inspires you because of all its cultural richness and the natural beauty and incredible architecture of Ptuj. Attending this carnival is an absolute must because it transports you to a different time and place!

    For more information please visit https://visitptuj.eu/en/.

    Kurentovanje Carnival Characters & Local Slang

    Here are some of the things you need to know before attending Kurentovanje.

    • Pust: This is the name of a carnival in Slovenia. It literally translates to Shrovetide, similar to how in French it is called Mardi Gras. It is the Tuesday that directly precedes Lent (Ash Wednesday) and is the last day to celebrate before the onset of Lent.
    • Kurent: The most iconic carnival character is a demon named the
    • The Devil: He is the leader of the Kurenti (plural word for Kurent). He has a long red tongue and will carry a fishing net to catch other souls.
    • Krofi: These are delicious donuts that are made for carnival. They are covered in powdered sugar and are sold during carnival.
    • Kurent: He comes out at the end of winter to usher away winter and bring in the spring.
    • The Rusa: Rusa is quite a comical carnival character. He is a horse that brings fertility to the other farm animals.
    • Orači: The name for a group of men who plow the fields. They often accompany the Kurenti and the whip-cracker. They circle the town for protection.
    • Maškara: This means anyone in costume.

    How to get to Ptuj?

    • By Pane: Ptuj is only 25km away from Maribor which is the second largest city in Slovenia, with the second largest airport, Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport. It is also only 120km away from the Capital City Ljubljana, which has the largest airport in Slovenia with numerous international flights, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport.  So, it is very easy to fly into the airport of one of these major cities and then Ptuj can easily be reached by car, bus or train.
    • By Train: Ptuj Train Station is on Osojnikova cesta, which is around 1km east of the centre. There are trains connecting all over Slovenia. Four trains a day to Ljubljana, 9 to Maribor and 10 to Murska Sobota.
    • By Bus: Ptuj’s bus station has many connections to nearby towns and Eurobusways does a transfer on the way between Budapest and Ljubljana.
    • By Car: You can easily get to Ptuj by car from Maribor (25 km) or drive from the capital Ljubljana (120km). Ptuj is also quite close to Hungary with the border only being around 80km away and the Croatian border which is only 16km away. Its distance to Budapest is around 300km. Zagreb is 86km, Vienna is 285km, Belgrade is 480km or Prague which is around 600km away.

    Carnivaland recommends tours, events and accommodation based on our extensive experience and knowledge of them. We may earn affiliate commission from affiliate links in this article. Read more about our policy.


    Location Map

    Table of Contents
      Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

      You might also like

      Carnaval de El Callao

      🇻🇪 El Callao Carnival

        Venezuela, El Callao
        February 20, 2023 · February 26, 2023

      El Callao Carnival is the largest carnival in Venezuela. It has also been recognised by UNESCO for possessing intangible heritage.
      Carnaval de Veracruz

      🇲🇽 Veracruz Carnival

        Mexico, Veracruz

      Mexican Carnivals are some of the best in the world and Veracruz Carnival is said to be Mexico’s best carnival! You must travel here to experience first hand one of the best carnivals north of Rio!
      Carnaval de Aruba

      🇦🇼 Aruba Carnival

        Aruba, Oranjestad
        February 1, 2024 · February 14, 2024

      Carnival in Aruba is the most anticipated event of the year! It is a whole month of celebrating with parades, parties and live music. You haven’t lived until you have experienced the Aruba Carnival spirit!
      Carnaval de Santa Lucía

      🇱🇨 St Lucia Carnival

        St Lucia, Castries

      St Lucia Carnival is a vibrant display of local culture and heritage which takes place in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the beautiful island of St Lucia!
      Carnaval de Northampton

      🇬🇧 Northampton Carnival

        United Kingdom, Northampton

      Northampton Carnival is a fun filled carnival celebration for the whole family! It is an incredible day where you can watch the amazing parade or watch some free concerts, go on some rides, eat delicious food from around the world and have fun with the community.
      Maspalomas Carnival

      🇪🇸 The International Carnival of Maspalomas

        Spain, Maspalomas

      Maspalomas Carnival takes place in a resort town in Spain’s Canary Islands. There is no better place to enjoy carnival with wild parties, great weather and beautiful beaches.

      Your Guide to Carnivals around the World

      Instagram #carnivaland