What traditions and customs are there in Slovenia?
We observe the customs and traditions of Slovenia.
Food in daily life
Slovenia has a rich culinary tradition that is a product of both its climate and its location at the crossroads of Central Europe. Slovenian culinary heritage reflects Mediterranean, Alpine and Eastern European cultures.
Meals are an important part of Slovenian family life, and enjoying a sandwich or a glass of wine in a café with friends is a typical social activity. Although each region of Slovenia has its own specialties, most of the oldest traditional Slovenian dishes are prepared with flour, buckwheat or barley, as well as potatoes and cabbage.
The city of Idrija, west of Ljubljana, is known for its idrija zlikrofi, spiced potato balls wrapped in finely rolled dough, and zeljsevka, rolled yeast dough with a herb filling.
The town of Murska Sobota, the northernmost town in Slovenia, is famous for its prekmurska gibanica, a pastry filled with cottage cheese, poppy seeds, walnuts, and apples. Slovenia also produces a wide variety of wines, an activity that dates back to the time when the country was part of the Roman Empire.
Food customs on ceremonial occasions
There are some special dishes prepared for special occasions such as potica, a dessert with a variety of fillings, and braided loaves of traditional bread for Christmas. In the cities of the countryside, the slaughter of a pig, which is used in its entirety for the production of a wide variety of pork products, is still an important event.
The majority of Slovenians, about 71%, identify as Roman Catholic; Without a doubt, Roman Catholicism has influenced Slovenian culture more than any other religious belief. Protestantism gained a strong foothold during the Reformation in the 16th century, but later saw its number of practitioners decline.
Eastern Orthodox Christians make up 2.5 percent of the population, Protestants 1 percent, and Muslims 1 percent. Most Protestants belong to the Murska Sobota Lutheran Church. There was once a small Jewish population in Slovenia, but the Jews were expelled from the area in the 15th century.
Although the ruins of a synagogue can still be seen in Maribor, there is no longer an active Jewish temple anywhere in Slovenia today. The Rabbi of Zagreb, Croatia occasionally holds services for the small Jewish community living in Ljubljana.
Rituals and sacred places
There are several churches that are considered places of pilgrimage and spiritual renewal. In Brezje, a basilica dedicated to Saint Vid was first established in the 12th century. In the center of this church is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with paintings by Leopold Layer.
The Gothic church of Ptujska Gora, located on top of a mountain, was erected at the end of the 14th century and is famous for its beautiful altar. Another pilgrimage church is located in Sveta Gora, in the foothills of the Alps.
The festivities of the Virgin Mary are the central days of pilgrimage for the three churches. There are two monasteries, the Sticna Monastery and the Pleterje Carthusian Monastery, which are open to visitors who often come not only for spiritual reflection but also to purchase the herbal remedies for which the monks are famous.
Important secular celebrations include February 8, Presence Day, a Slovenian cultural day; May 1, Labor Day; June 25, Slovenia Day, and December 26, Independence Day.
The arts and humanities
In general, there is great interest in supporting the arts in Slovenia and enthusiastic sponsorship of cultural events. Under the Yugoslav socialist government, arts and culture received state support.
As an independent nation, Slovenia is trying to maintain the same level of support for the arts, although privatization is changing the way institutions and artists are financed.
Literature has always been enthusiastically supported in Slovenia, and with the country’s high literacy rate, this interest continues to grow. The first written texts in Slovene, which were religious, date from around 970 AD
The first published book in Slovene appeared in 1550, and in 1584 a Slovene grammar text and a Bible were published. Until the end of the 18th century, however, almost all books published in Slovenia were in Latin or German.
Slovenian literature flourished in the early 19th century during the romantic period and began to develop an identity. During this period, France Prešeren, considered the greatest Slovenian poet, published his works.
In the second half of the 19th century, Fran Levstik published his interpretation of Slovenian oral folktales, and in 1866 Josip Juri published the first full-length novel entirely in Slovenian, entitled The Tenth Brother…
Slovenian literature immediately before and after World War II was strongly influenced by socialist realism and the struggles of the war period. Various other literary styles, such as symbolism and existentialism, have influenced Slovenian writers since the 1960s.
Slovenia has an unusual variety of art ranging from Gothic frescoes to contemporary sculpture. At the end of the 19th century, a Slovenian expressionist school emerged led by the painter Boñidar Jakac.
At the beginning of the 20th century a new trend in art emerged as a group of artists came together to form the Club de Independientes, some of whom continued to work under the socialist government of Tito.
Slovenia today has a small but vibrant art community dominated by the Neue Slowenische Kunst multimedia group and a five-member artists’ cooperative called IRWIN. There is also a rich tradition of folk art which is best exemplified by the beehives painted and illustrated with folk motifs found throughout Slovenia.
Folk music and dance are an important part of Slovenian culture. The Institute of National Music and Manuscripts in Ljubljana maintains an archive of the wide variety of traditional songs and musical fables.
Folk dances are still part of traditional celebrations, and the first ballet school, which was established in Slovenia in 1918 as part of the Ljubljana Opera House, continues to perform. Other dance companies have also been formed, including contemporary and avant-garde.
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