A Brief History
Kurentovanje (pronounced koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay) is the most popular Carnival event in Slovenia, featuring the Kurent, a figure thought to chase away winter and usher in spring. Kurentovanje is a ten-day rite of spring and fertility with celebrations including street processions, a children’s parade, and the burial of Carnival and transfer of power back to the mayor.
Bringing Kurentovanje to Cleveland
The Slovenian National Home, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation, and Sterle’s Country House, combined with the support of local businesses, put together the first ever Clevleand Kurentovanje Festival this past Saturday, February 23, 2013. Free and open to the public, the festival was the perfect way to explore a small part of the rich Slovenian culture–a time to enjoy foods, spirits, music, and dance that many are not exposed to on a regular basis.
The festival began with a crafting event featuring local artists and cultural crafts. Children were even given the opportunity to craft their very own Kurentovanje costumes!
Perhaps the highlight of the festival was the procession, which started at 1:00 p.m. and spanned throughout the neighborhood from St. Vitus Church on Lausche Avenue to the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair. The parade was led by the Kurent, wearing a massive sheepskin garment, and many other groups dressed in traditional dress followed behind.
After the parade, festival-goers were invited to explore the Slovenian National Home, along with other local businesses in the surrounding area. The Slovenian National Home offered visitors the opportunity to sample a variety of different ethnic foods, wines, and beers, and provided entertainment by the jubilant DJ Kishka who played a variety of classic polka. There were also performances by Fantje na Vasi Men’s Chorus, St. Clair Boys, and Alpine Sextet.
The Cleveland Kurentovanje Festival is another reminder of just how culturally diverse our city is, and it provides us with the opportunity to enjoy a little piece of Slovenia–to sample their food and spirits, to enjoy their music and dance. Here’s to hoping the 2nd annual festival is an even bigger success!