Laufarija carnival in Cerkno
Laufarija, one of the most recognizable traditional carnival groups in Slovenia that hold its own unique rite of spring, takes place in Cerkno. The “Laufarija” of Cerkno has been taking place for centuries according to unwritten rules and plays an important element of local identity.
In Cerkno town the carnival spirit actually starts on the first Sunday after the New Year when the first laufar (the runner) shows up in the street. Every Sunday more characters appear, so that the group is complete on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. The Laufarji make their rounds in Cerkno town and its nearby villages with good wishes for health and an abundant harvest, the typical invocation being that ” may the turnip be bigger”.
Let me be your guide for Laufarija! Join me on 3rd March 2019 or 23rd February 2020!
The group consists of 25 different characters that wear special masks (larfe), carved out of linden wood, and distinctive costumes. The masks and the characters of the Cerkno “Laufarija” represent the characteristics and weaknesses of individual groups in the population. The main character is called Pust (Shrovetide Man), a horned character clad in moss that personifies winter. Besides Pust, there are also other characters dressed in various natural materials, such as ivy, straw, spruce, fleece, and animal skin. These materials also gave the names to the characters – “ta bršljanov (the Ivy Man)”, “ta slamnat (the Straw Man)”, “the Fleece Man,” “ta smrekov (the Spruce Man)”, etc. The only talking character is “ta stari (the Old Man)” An important role is also played by Pust’s guards known as the “ta tierjasta (Threaded Men)” who scare away the children.
On the Sunday before Fat Tuesday a carnival parade is taking place at Cerkno streets. On that day Pust is hauled before a court set up in the Cerkno square and charged for all the bad things that have happened in the past year, ranging from nasty weather to useless politicians. The conviction of Pust takes place as a play in the old Cerkno dialect which is what keeps the tradition alive. On the Fat Tuesday Pust is convicted to death by “bot (a lumberjack mallet)” on the main square in Cerkno. After the execution, carried out by the Old Man, the Pust is taken to the nearby inn, where he is kept so until midnight when by tradition the carnival time ends.
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The “Laufarija” of Cerkno has been entered in the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovenia since February 2012. With a decree by the government of the Republic of Slovenia, it was also declared a living masterpiece of national importance in 2014.
Traditional carnival group of Laufarji consists of:
Ta smrekov (the Spruce Man)
Ta terjasti (Threaded Men)
Ta pijan in ta pijana (the Drinker man and the Drinker woman)
Ta star in ta stara (the Old man and the Old woman)
Gospod in gospa (Sir, Madame)
Ta bršljanov in marjetica (the Ivy Man and the Daisy)
Ta kožuhov (the Fleece Man)
Ta žleht (The Naughty)
Ta perjev al ta kurjev
Ta divji (the Wild)
Ta slamnat (the Straw Man)
Did you know that …
“The ivy man” costume needs more than 10,000 ivy leaves to be sewed? It takes five to six hours a day for three weeks that the costume is finished.
the costume of Pust weights more than 100 kilos?!
Pust, Ta bršljanov and Ta smrekov gets their costumes new every year?