The Slovenia Times

Massive Turnout at Slovenia's Largest Carnival

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As many as 24 groups of kurenti and 16 groups of other costumes, a total of 3,000 costumed figures from ten countries filed through the centre of Slovenia's oldest town in bright sunny weather.

"Ptuj is a true European carnival festival today," the head of the festival Branko Brumen told the STA, proud that the event attracted costumes as far as Senegal.

Carrying big furry headgear with cow horns, feathers and colourful ribbons, and big cow bells around their waists, the kurenti make an impressive sight chasing away the winter according to an old pagan tradition.

"The kurenti have obviously done their job. I guess we can put inconveniences such as red weather alerts behind in this carnival time," Brumen said in a reference to recent adverse weather conditions.

The carnival parade was headed by the carnival prince, Rajko Jurgec Bertold DraneŇ°ki, whom the mayor handed over the reins for the duration of the carnival.

The procession also featured a variety of other traditional costumes such as ploughmen, gypsies and whip crackers as well as contemporary costumes many of which reflected political developments in Slovenia and the world.

The 55th annual Kurenovanje festival got underway eight days ago and will continue until Tuesday, when the "pust" is buried and the mayor is handed back his power.

A new feature this year was a night-time thematic parade on Friday evening. Considering it was Friday 13th, the parade featured zombies risen from graves.

Princes of carnivals and urban costumes filled the town's streets on Saturday, while more than 15,000 kindergarten children from Slovenia and Croatia are expected for an open-air costume party on Monday.

Carnival festivities are being held throughout Slovenia until Tuesday.

One of the larger ones, the 40th annual parade in Cerknica in central Slovenia, known for witches and frogs from the nearby intermittent lake, attracted more than 10,000 visitors today.

In Cerkno, a town in western Slovenia, the 25 "laufarji" costumes, some of which are believed to originate from pagan rituals, mounted the stage in the town's main square to participate in a mock trial.

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