Slovenia, a small country on the Adriatic coast, has many customs and traditions that make it a unique country! Local customs in Slovenia are important to take into account before you go and do your work placement abroad! In fact, when you’re doing a work placement in Slovenia, it’s up to you to fit into the local landscape and not act like a big French bully who wants to impose his good sausage.

Kurentovanje: the Slovenian festival par excellence!

Local customs in Slovenia cannot begin without mentioning Kurentovanje, an annual Slovenian folk festival held in the town of Ptuj, considered to be the oldest town in the country. This colourful and festive event attracts thousands of visitors every year, both locals and foreigners, eager to take part in this unique celebration of Slovenian tradition.

The focal point of Kurentovanje is the mythological figure of the Kurent. The Kurents are figures dressed in large furs and wearing impressive horned masks. They represent protective spirits and are supposed to chase away winter and bring fertility for spring. Kurent costumes are often decorated with sheep’s wool, acorns, straw and other natural elements, giving them a wild and mysterious appearance.

During the festival, the Kurents parade through the streets of Ptuj, accompanied by traditional music, dance and song. Participants also wear animal masks and other folkloric characters, creating a vibrant and joyful atmosphere. The Kurents have a tradition of scaring away evil spirits by using bells attached to their belts and making noise with rope whips.

The festival also includes costume competitions, where participants compete to create the most creative and original costumes. Masks, costumes and accessories are often handmade, with particular attention paid to detail and authenticity. Visitors can admire these magnificent creations and immerse themselves in the enchanted world of Slovenian folklore.

As well as parades and competitions, Kurentovanje also offers a variety of cultural and artistic activities. Visitors can enjoy performances of folk music, traditional dance and street theatre. Exhibitions by local artisans showcase handicrafts, traditional textiles and other unique creations.

Gastronomy also plays an important role during the festival. Food stalls offer Slovenian regional specialities such as smoked sausages, traditional pastries and local wines. Visitors can enjoy delicious Slovenian dishes while taking part in the celebrations.

Kurentovanje is much more than just a festival. It’s a celebration of Slovenia’s history, folklore and cultural identity. The centuries-old traditions that surround this festival allow Slovenes to connect with their past and pass on these cultural legacies to future generations. Kurentovanje is a not-to-be-missed event for anyone looking for an authentic and magical experience in Slovenia.

Slovenia’s relationship with nature

Slovenia is renowned for its special relationship with nature, and Slovenes have a deep connection with their natural surroundings. This close connection with nature is an integral part of Slovenian cultural identity and is reflected in many facets of everyday life.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Slovenia’s relationship with nature is the importance attached to preserving the environment. The country is home to numerous national parks, nature reserves and protected areas that are carefully maintained. The Triglav National Park, located in the Julian Alps, is one of the country’s natural gems and is considered a national symbol. Slovenians are proud of their natural heritage and are making efforts to preserve it, notably by encouraging sustainable tourism practices and promoting environmental awareness.

Outdoor activities are deeply rooted in Slovenian culture. Hiking, cycling, climbing, skiing and other sporting activities are popular all year round. Slovenians value the benefits of outdoor exercise and appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of nature. Whether in the mountains, valleys, forests or along the Adriatic coast, there is an abundance of natural scenery to explore and enjoy.

Agriculture and beekeeping are also important elements of Slovenia’s relationship with nature. Many Slovenian families grow their own vegetables, fruit and herbs, and great importance is attached to sustainable, organic food production. Beehives abound throughout the country, and the Carniolan bee, an indigenous breed of bee, is cherished and protected as a symbol of traditional Slovenian beekeeping.

Slovenia offers a variety of magnificent natural landscapes, from majestic alpine mountains to crystal-clear rivers, picturesque lakes and lush green forests. This natural diversity means that Slovenians can enjoy nature close to home, and many weekends are devoted to outdoor getaways, whether for relaxation, rejuvenation or sporting activities.

In short, Slovenia’s relationship with nature is characterised by a strong appreciation of the natural environment, a desire to preserve and protect natural areas, and a passion for outdoor activities. Nature is seen as an essential part of the Slovenian way of life, offering opportunities for adventure, relaxation and reconnecting with oneself. Local customs in Slovenia are a good thing!

Young people in Slovenia

To help you integrate with young Slovenians, here are a few tips and examples of local customs that might help you:

  1. Learning the language: Although many young Slovenians speak English, learning a few phrases in Slovenian can show your interest in the local culture and make communication easier. Slovenians generally appreciate foreigners’ efforts to learn their language. In fact, Slovenians are often trilingual!

  2. Taking part in social activities: Young Slovenians are often socially active, whether in cafés, clubs, sports events or festivals. Joining common interest groups and taking part in cultural or sporting events can be an excellent opportunity to meet and interact with young Slovenians who share the same interests.
  3. Using social networks: Social media play an important role in the lives of young Slovenians. Using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter can help you connect with like-minded people and get involved in online communities.
  4. Take part in outdoor activities: As mentioned above, outdoor activities are very popular in Slovenia. Joining hiking, cycling, climbing or other sports clubs can be a great way to meet young Slovenians with a passion for nature and adventure.
  5. Be open and friendly: Slovenians are generally friendly and welcoming towards foreigners. Be open, friendly and engage in conversation with young Slovenians. Show an interest in their culture, daily life and passions. They’ll probably be happy to share their experiences and help you understand more about life in Slovenia.
  6. Participate in intercultural exchanges: Many universities and organisations offer intercultural exchange programmes in Slovenia. By taking part in these programmes, you will have the opportunity to meet other Slovenian and international students, experience a deeper cultural immersion and make new friends.

Remember that everyone is unique, so interactions may vary. Be respectful of Slovenian culture, show interest and be prepared to share your own experiences and knowledge. With an open and positive attitude, you’ll quickly feel part of the Slovenian youth community.

The relationship with sport in Slovenia

Local customs in Slovenia also include sport, which plays an important role in Slovenian culture, particularly among young people and in secondary schools. Slovenians value physical activity, both for its health benefits and for its social and community role. Physical education classes are an integral part of the Slovenian high school curriculum and aim to promote physical activity, team spirit and sporting skills. Young people take part in a variety of sports, such as football, basketball, volleyball, athletics and other physical activities suited to their interests and abilities.

Competitive sports also play an important role in the lives of young Slovenians. Secondary schools organise intramural and inter-school sports competitions in a variety of disciplines, enabling young people to proudly represent their school and compete against other secondary schools in regional or national tournaments and championships.

Many young Slovenians are involved in sports clubs and extra-curricular activities. These clubs offer a variety of sports to suit individual interests and talents, ranging from team sports such as football, basketball and handball to individual sports such as athletics, swimming, tennis and skiing. As Slovenia is a mountainous country, mountain sports, particularly skiing and mountaineering, are very popular with young people. The mountains offer many opportunities for winter sports such as downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding, as well as summer activities such as climbing, hiking and mountain biking.

The sporting successes of Slovenian athletes, both nationally and internationally, inspire younger generations and spark their interest in sport. Slovenia has produced many world-class athletes in sports such as downhill skiing, basketball, handball, ski jumping, kayaking and canoeing, who serve as role models for budding young athletes.

In short, sport plays a central role in the lives of young Slovenians, both at school and in their extra-curricular activities. It promotes health, well-being, teamwork and discipline, and provides opportunities for socialisation and personal development. Slovenians value physical activity and encourage young people to take an active part in sport, creating a vibrant sporting culture in the country.

And here are the local customs in Slovenia! Of course, we’ve made a very big summary of what we think is essential for you to fit in during your work placement in Slovenia 😀 For more information, or for International Horizons to find you a work placement abroad, register for free on our website, and a member of the team will call you back within a few days! And if you still need convincing, because this article on local customs in Slovenia wasn’t enough for you, you can read about our experience in Slovenia here.

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