Social Life at SAM

Slovenian people always like to be in company of compatriots, families and friends.

As soon as they arrived to Australia, they met and started forming friendships and Slovenian clubs, where they could meet, talk in Slovenian language, enjoy Slovenian cuisine and sing Slovenian songs, recite poetry and dance to Slovenian tunes. The care for the elderly was established very soon after their arrival.

They formed clubs, organised dances, meetings, picnics, celebrations, pilgrimages, and participated in many multicultural events.

The following web pages introduce the main aspects of the Slovenian social life of the members and friends at the Slovenian Association Melbourne with explanations, many photographs and some video links:

Slovenian traditions:

Slovenian traditions and customs travelled to Australia in the hearts and memories of Slovenian immigrants. Here Slovenians revived them as a heritage reclaimed and not forgotten.

During the era of the post World War II communist regime, some customs, particularly religious ones, were prohibited from being practised publicly in Slovenia.

Religious customs were mostly kept alive by villagers, often considered as ‘backward and slow’ and city people of strong faith. School children who attended religious instruction at church were ridiculed by school teachers.

All of this has made Slovenians and people of Slovenian descent proud to preserve their customs and culture with the importance of upholding the Slovenian Catholic traditions.

Most known and widely practised are:

  1. Pustovanje – Shrove Tuesday festivities, including Kurentovanje

More information from festivities in Slovenia: Pustovanje is the tradition  and celebration of merrymaking, due to the end of Winter, bringing Spring and its nice weather as well as longer days.

Blumarji near Italian borders.

Prekmurje:            Borovo gostuvanje, the biggest group play in Slovenia / The PINE wedding, in the village, when there is no wedding before Lent, they put on a comic Pine wedding.

In Australia:

Celebrated after the Shrove Tuesday with a dance – masked ball, selecting the best costumes and on Ash Wednesday at some clubs the Funeral of the Pust, a comical burial of the straw figure of Pust, surrounded by characters as priest, nuns and mourners.

Cvetna nedelja – Palm Sunday with the traditional Butarice at the Slovenian church at Kew

Easter Sunday – blessing of the traditional Easter foods: potica – walnut roll cake, symbolising Christ’s crown of thorns; ham – symbolising Christ’s body; fresh horseradish root – symbolising nails, nailing Christ to the cross; pirhi – real Easter eggs, painted eggs – symbolising new life or drops of Christ’s blood, all placed in košarice – white cloth lined baskets, decorated with red carnations

Easter Monday picnic with Easter Bunny visiting the children and games – sekanje pirhov

Mother’s Day

Feast of Sts Cyril and Methodius (Victoria), Feast of St Raphael (NSW), Feast of Holy Family (South Australia)

Father’s Day

Miklavževanje – St Nicholas Day. St Nicholas visits the children, asking them to say a prayer and giving them gifts of lollies, dried figs etc, if they were good. Along with St Nicholas there are devils, dressed in red and black, who on many occasions frighten the children, making them promise, they will be good in the future.

Christmas and Štefanovanje – Boxing Day

Silvestrovanje – New Years Eve

Slovenians love to socialize and dance – there is always a piano accordion (or a button accordion) present playing polkas and waltzes and there is no end to vriskanje – expressions of joy.

Draga Gelt


Photo Gallery

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Video Gallery