30. januar 2023

The Federation of Kurent Ptuj coordinates the work between the Kurent Societies and takes care of the preservation of the Kurent tours, which were entered on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on December 7, 2017.


The bearers of the element Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti are individuals, families, rural and urban communities. Groups of Kurenti generally consist of 10 to 20 men and boys who are sometimes joined by women and children. The bearers form groups not only because of common interest to safeguard this custom, but also on the basis of intergenerational, friendly and family bonds. During decades, the number of Kurenti has been gradually increasing. Some of them act within informal local groups while others are organised in associations (more than 30) some of which are part of the Federation of Kurenti Associations. The UNESCO nomination includes all groups who submitted the proposal to be included in the national Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Craftsmen producing masks and attires are closely connected to Kurenti, although many of them make their own attires. Women are responsible for the production of paper decorations and woollen socks. Geographical area where Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti are presented is limited to the north-eastern part of Slovenia, precisely to Ptuj City Municipality, Ormož Municipality, and to some smaller municipalities on Ptujsko and Dravsko polje (Markovci, Dornava, Gorišnica, Videm, Hajdina, Kidričevo), Haloze hills (Podlehnik, Žetale, Majšperk), and Slovenske Gorice area (Juršinci, Destrnik, Sveti Andraž). In terms of the number of bearers (families, gropus,  ssociations) stand out villages of Markovci, Zabovci, Spuhlja, Bukovci, Borovci, Stojnci, Lancova Vas, Pobrežje, Draženci, Janežovci, Vareja, Prvenci, Grajena and Mestni Vrh. Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti is a Shrovetide ritual. From Candlemas (2nd February) to Ash Wednesday, Kurenti perform their rounds through villages, and since the second half of the 20th century also through the town of Ptuj. Groups of Kurenti, accompanied by one or more devils, run from house to house, form a circle in the yard and jump around the landlord and his wife. The noisy bell-ringing and brandishing of the wooden stick chase everything evil away and bring happiness and joy. People offer them food and drink, and women give out their handkerchiefs as a sign of affection. Often, the custom of breaking a clay pot at the first round to thank Kurenti is still performed. The attire of Kurenti consists of a sheep’s skin coat, woollen socks, a mask with a pointy nose, long tongue and topped with cow horns or feathers, a chain with cow bells, and a wooden stick with a hedgehog’s skin on one end and handkerchiefs attached to the other. There are two types of Kurenti. The feathered Kurenti have ears made of turkey or goose feathers, horns made of straw, tied with leather and decorated with multi-coloured paper ribbons and flowers. The horned Kurenti beargenuine cow’s horns and leather or fury ears. Some groups perform at carnivals and other events also outside their local environment. The figure of Kurenti, being the most recognisable Shrovetide figure in Slovenia, gave the name to the international Shrovetide festival in Ptuj – Kurentovanje. The primary bearers were only men. According to the folk custom, grandfathers would pass on the custom to their sons and grandsons, as only men were able to endure such physical efforts and wear the heavy attire. Since the second half of the 20th century, women and children have been participating in the rounds often bearing a mask of a devil or even Kurenti. Women and children are actively involved in all activities of this custom, in the performance and safeguarding of the rounds. Kurenti normally organise themselves in groups, some establish associations. The leader is generally the eldest member who also organises the rounds through villages and towns. An important bearer of the custom is the Federation of Kurenti Associations which acts as the umbrella organisation and takes care of the transmission of the heritage from one generation to another. In the past, men used to make their own attires out of anything that was available on the farm; nowadays, the attires are made by local master craftsmen. A special role is held by women and girls who are responsible for decorations (paper flowers and ribbons, woollen socks, painting of leather facial masks, handkerchiefs embroidery), and for special Shrovetide dishes which they offer to Kurenti during their visits. Annual preparations for and performances of the custom have a great impact on local communities and contribute to the strengthening of interpersonal bonds and local identity. Several generations are involved in the preparations: children, youngsters and adults of both genders. The commitment and affiliation of the bearers to this custom is also proved by the fact that adults take leave in order to be able to perform the rounds, and some schools are closed, for they are aware of the importance of the heritage safeguarding. Local inhabitants are able to recognise in this custom the wisdom of theirancestors which can help to a better quality of life for people and for all living beings. The Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti represent a significant part of the regional identity, therefore the region where the rounds occur has been named the Land of Kurenti. The prevailing message of the rounds co-creates and enforces the sustainable identity of Ptuj city and of its surroundings. The figure of Kurenti is represented in many companies’ logos, as well as in public legal entities and civil rganisations. To take part in the rounds is an honourable deed performed by people from different social strata and who, during the Shrovetide, identify themselves with the figure of  kurenti. In the modern world, Kurenti and their message have become ambassadors of social and cultural changes which take us all back to the times when people lived in harmony with nature, fauna and flora and, in particular, with each other.