Slovenia Celebrates Reformation Day

Although a predominantly Catholic country, Slovenia has celebrated Reformation Day as a national holiday since 1992 to remember a turbulent yet culturally rich period in the 16th century that produced the first book written in the Slovenian language.

During the second half of the 16th century Reformation ideas flourished in the lands that make up present-day Slovenia.

The movement in Slovenia was epitomised by Primoz Trubar (1508-1586), a Protestant priest who wanted to write books in a language which could easily be understood by all Slovenians. His "Abecedarium" spelling-book and "Catechism", published in 1550, gave Slovenians the first books in their own language.

Around 1580, the majority of townspeople and nobility in the predominantly Slovenian provinces of the Holy Roman Empire – Carniola, Styria and Carinthia – considered themselves Protestant, while the peasantry remained largely Catholic, in defiance of their feudal lords.

Protestantism caught on among the masses only in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje, which remains to this very day home to the majority of the around 20,000 Slovenian Protestants.

Reformation Day will be followed on Friday by All Saints Day, another bank holiday. Financial markets and institutions will remain closed on both days and many Slovenians will use the extended weekend to hit the outdoors.