Christmas lights ring in festive season

Christmas lighting in Ljubljana
Christmas lighting in the centre of Ljubljana. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Cities across Slovenia will get into the festive spirit as they switch on Christmas lights this weekend. In some places such as Ljubljana and Maribor the lights will shine for fewer hours than usual to save electricity.

Ljubljana will turn on its signature Christmas lighting at dusk on 25 November with a countdown in Prešeren Square. St Nicholas’ market will get under way at the same venue and an arts and crafts market at Breg, the riverside.

The decorations include 50 kilometres of Christmas lights curated by Urban Modic on the theme General Mind/Community Spirit, and Chinese lanterns made by primary school children to adorn trees in Zvezda Park.

To save electricity, lights in locations where this is possible will only be lit for ten hours a day, not around the clock. The city authorities expect to reduce electricity consumption by about 40% in this way.

Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city, will not switch on its Christmas lights until 1 December and will dim them at 11pm each evening and a little later at the end of the month. It will keep them switched off during the day to save on energy.

In more innovative ways, venues will be kept aglow using electricity generated by solar panels on the roof of the city’s power distributor and that produced by pedalling locals.

The most attractive new feature this year, apart from the fact that the open air New Year’s eve celebration will be back after being suspended for two years due to Covid, is a 23-metre-high Ferris wheel in Central Square.

Apart from the Christmas market, free open-air concerts will be held in Leon Štukelj Square in the last ten days of December and a festival of creativity, light and socialising in Vetrinje Mansion between 2 and 28 December.

Christmas lights in the seaside city of Koper and Celje in the east will come on on 26 November. Koper will also have an ice rink in Tito Square and the winter edition of the Altroke Istra Gourmet Festival featuring traditional dishes and drinks in Museum Square.

A special guest ushering in the festive season in Koper this year will be the popular Italian singer, actress and TV presenter Cristina D’Avena, best known for her cartoon theme songs.

Celje will have a few more lights but the more extravagant day-time decorations. The festive season there will feature more than 50 events at seven venues in 30 days.

Not far from Celje, as many as 1.7 million festive lights, the largest number yet, will be switched on at Mozirski Gaj, a park in the Upper Savinja Valley, on 25 November. The Slovenian Christmas Fairytale, as the show is dubbed, will be open until 8 January.