PUSTOVANJE - SHROVE CARNIVAL KEPT ALIVE
In Slovenia: Pust - Shrove Tuesday
As described by Polona Zalokar, 2007 (http://webnews.textalk.com/young-diplomats/slovenia-pust-shrove-tuesday)
"Pust’ marks the beginning of the Lenten period (40 days before Easter when Jesus spent time in the desert fasting and praying). People get dressed up in costumes to symbolically mark the end winter and beginning of spring.
Some towns have specialized in them: in Ptuj this is called ‘kurentovanje’and 'kurent' is a well-known mask in the world. The kurent is a symbol of spring and fertility, and is the bringer of new life. This kurent with it's unique mask of animals significant to them, is the city of Ptuj's greatest attraction.
Kurenti - Kurents Kurents - video Kurenti preganjajo zimo Kurents in Ljutomer
Blumarji Their bells are heard as Blum Blum and so arose the name blumarji. Others claim that the name comes from the German word Blumen (flower). Blumarji are actually a symbol of the flowers that grow in the snow and herald the coming of spring and the awakening of new life.
Škoromati is a typical Istrian shrove mask. The whole preparation starts already on December 26 when local boys gather in a pub and choose their leader, a "kapo". Their clothes are mostly prepared secretly. They are usually prepared after February 2. It is customary for Škoromati to go from village to village where they visit different houses. They bring joy and laughter, so every family is happy to meet them.
Butalci are inhabitants of a town called Butale. They consider themselves very intelligent and important although they are very stupid. They constantly compete with their neighbours. The town Butale is supposed to be in the range of Cerknica so in time of Shrovetide Tuesday Cerknica becomes known as Butale. There they have their extraordinary meetings of the Butale country on which they discuss top political issues. At the Shrovetide carnival people who are masked as Butalci wear simple clothes and have big paper masks on their head. They look a little bit like farmers. They also do foolish things as proof that they are real Butalci, that is stupid.
Laufarji Laufarji from Cerklje are one of the most famous and most original Shrovetide groups in Slovenia along with the Kurents from Ptuj. They have distinguishing wooden apparel made from natural materials ( ivy, spruce, straw and moss). These masks are called larfe. The boys who wear the mask must be over 18 and still single. The main laufar character is called Pust. His family consists of masks called ta bršljanasti, ta tirjesta, ta stari, ta stara and others. The Laufar family includes 26 figures. They start gathering right after New Year every Sunday after mass. At first, only two of them go out, and then, every Sunday, more of them join the gathering, (until Pust, Shrove Tesday, when everyone goes out for the first time).They go to every house to get good things, like meat, pork ears and hoofs. Through the masks Laufarji introduce features and disadvantages of individual groups within the population. It s interesting how they blame Pust for all kinds of things, and in the end they sentence him to death.
The person under the mask is dressed in white linen trousers and shirt, which has been specially prepared just for Carnival. On the top of a specific twisted "klabuk" (hat), there is the shape of the tree. It stand about one meter high and from a small point at the top hang ribbons of different colors of crepe paper. A scarf is worn by blumarji around his neck. It is of vivid colours which the ancients believed could recall spring. A decorated rope is attached to the back of the shirt. The completed costume includes footwear, consisting of handmade woollen socks and black "Zeke" (typical footwear, sneakers are in fact prohibited). The blumar also carries a long stick called "pištok".
They stop in restaurants and in homes for fresh drink. At each stop, they perform special jumps in celebration of the coming spring.
In Australia PUSTOVANJE - Pust Carnivals used to take place in most of the Slovenian Clubs with a dance, procession of masks, competitions and selection of the best costumes, and even a Pust Funeral.
People love to dress in funny outfits, creative costumes and unbelievable masks.
The food served at the dances is traditionally Slovenian, and include the famous and tasty pustni krofi - Shrove doughnuts.
Photos on web sites:
Pustovanje at Jadran
, video: Masks
Slovenian Association Geelong
Slovenian Association Planinka, Brisbane