The Slovenia Times

Strike Me Happy, December!



On 3rd December, a series of festive events for people of all ages will officially begin with "Veseli December" (Happy December) in Ljubljana. A short cultural celebration called "Let's turn on the lights, people!" will be followed by the official turning on of the festive street lighting at Presernov trg (square), nearby riverbanks, Ljubljana Castle and some of the main buildings in town. The dreary greyness of November will quickly fade from memory, and the centre of town will be magically transformed into a glittering fairytale landscape with thousands of coloured lights. From December 8th onward, the festively decorated stalls along Cankarjevo nabrezje (embankment) and the Central Market at Vodnikov trg (square) will become the centre of Ljubljana social life. While walking around, you may be magically drawn to the scent of one particular stall located in the middle of Presernov trg. What on Earth is this, you will be asking yourself, while mindlessly following the sweet, intoxicating scent of chocolate and roasted almonds - why, it's freshly made pralines! I also highly recommend trying the Eraclea hot chocolate in one of the sweetshops around the centre. Admit it, it's cold and you need to treat yourself. After the sugar has reinvigorated you, take a lazy stroll past the stalls. In the morning, the vendors will be happy to take time to chat with you, but their evenings get quite busy, so be patient with them. Whether you intend to spend some money or not, the important thing is just to be there, to mingle as everyone else does, as even the biggest hermits decide it's time to become social again. While strolling around the stalls, you may find a nice gift for yourself or your loved ones, many of them handcrafted products at reasonable and sometimes even bargain prices. Need a warm cap, a new pair of gloves or a scarf? It's all there, in nice colours and often times at substantially lower prices than in the shops. For children, there will be different kinds of toys; for you, there will be home decorating items like glass lamps, candlesticks or a lovely piece of jewellery - ladies, do take your time to explore the selection. As for other forms of shopping madness, we will cover them in detail in the next issue, but it goes without saying that the shops are now crammed full of people, have tons of pretty things to buy, and play that bloody Jingle Bells tune at every corner, over and over again. I suggest taking an iPod with you - it will save your sanity. Mulled Wine and Mead, Where's the New Liver That I Need? As the Festive Fair is to a large extent a social event, there will also be food and drink stalls with fragrant traditional Slovenian New Year's drinks - mulled wine and mead. Remember that we are a nation of dedicated drinkers, and do not gasp at the copious amounts of mulled wine and sweet mead you see people downing around town. Nevertheless, most people manage to behave in an orderly and civilized manner, because the cold weather has a naturally sobering effect. To get away from the crowds, take a walk to nearby Kongresni trg, which has now been transformed into a fairy-tale park decorated with colourful lights, wind socks and vivid pictures. The artwork was made by children from various schools in Ljubljana - you'll be impressed by the children's creativity! From there, you will be able to see the forest on Castle Hill, now densely covered in holiday lights, and with the castle lit up in changing colours at the top. In the evening, there will be live music at improvised stages around the Old Town, which will play many different kinds of music. If you like the music to be big, loud and grandiose, do not miss the Linz Midi Brass Band (AUT) and their marching procession from the Town Museum to Presernov trg on December 9th at noon.


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