Lighting of bonfires and 1st May wake-up call
Lighting of bonfires on the eve before 1st May have been introduced in Slovenia with the Labour day which we celebrated since 1890.
The event of celebrating international Labour Day is very strong in Slovenia and has a long tradition. The villagers start gathering wood, branches and straw bundles, mainly from the vineyard or orchard, for bonfire a few months before the big bonfire party in the beginning of May. The tradition of lighting bonfires has become a popular form of socializing. There is plenty of food, drinks and good music going on. On the evening of 30 April, a day before the Labour day, there are numerous events, connected to the lighting of bonfires, across Slovenia. The highest bonfire in the world, over 43 meters high, was lit in Boštanj near Sevnica in 2007 and entered into the Guinness Book of Records. Do you want to know how everything started? In the 15th and 16th century the Ottoman empire was spreading and there were lots of Ottoman incursions in the territory of today’s Slovenia. Local people were afraid because Ottomans were plundering, murdering and kidnapping young Slovenian boys who were taken to be trained as warriors/janičarji in the Ottoman empire. The villagers started to lit bonfires on the hills to notify their neighbors and neighboring villages of the Ottoman impending danger. The bonfire ceremony lasts until the next morning when 1st May wake-up call wakes us up! The aim of 1st May wake-up call is to remind people of a Labour day which needs to be celebrated. Where will you be for the lighting of bonfires and 1st May wake-up call?! I will be in Primorska region;)