You hear the cracking of whips, the clanging of bells, as huge hairy beasts come around the corner. There’s no need to panic, it’s just the Slovenian celebration of Spring: Kurentovanje.
Pronounced “Koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yah”, think of Kurentovanje like a “Slovenian Mardi Gras”. A week-long celebration held at the start of March, this cultural festival originated in the 1950’s as a parade featuring men dressed as the Kurent: fur-covered, bell-laden mythical monsters.
Cleveland’s festival is organized by the volunteer-run organization The Slovenian Museum & Archives since 2013. Activities this year will still be held on a virtual basis. There will be craft-making classes, cooking courses, and even lectures on how to apply for duel Slovenian citizenship.
The big question: Will the monsters still emerge for a bonfire celebration? Absolutely, but this year we watch from our living rooms!
2021 Calendar of Events:
Saturday, February 6
11:00am: Mushrooms: A Slovenian Tradition of Foraging
Foraging for wild mushrooms is a popular pastime for many Slovenians, and attendees of this virtual presentation will learn about the bountiful range of mushrooms available across the United States. M. Kusold and Luka Zibelnik will discuss the cultural significance of foraging, present some of the easily identifiable mushrooms, and give information on identification tools. Miro Gnjatić will give insight into his mushroom farm in Kirtland, Ohio where he grows and sells mushrooms and growing kits.
3:00pm: Cooking with Cleveland Kurentovanje
We are proud to partner with Slovenska Kuhinja and VSGT (Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism Maribor) to provide a series of three virtual cooking/baking demos throughout the week of Cleveland Kurentovanje. Tune in to watch amateur bakers from across the globe share favorite recipes made from home, while trained chefs from Slovenia demonstrate how to make delicious dishes from their kitchens. This first presentation will include a “Kitchen Conversation” with our culinary partners, and a baking demonstration of the Slovenian favorite, “Kremšnite” with Špela Vodovc, Author of COOK EAT SLOVENIA Cookbook, in Slovenia. Register to receive a list of ingredients in advance so you can prepare the recipes as soon as you’re finished watching.
Sunday, February 7
9am through Monday, February 8, 9am: Slovenian Movie Stream
Featuring two Slovenian films with English subtitles – My Last Year as a Loser / Ne Bom Več Luzerka (original title) & Real Pests / To So Gadi (original title). Check out the film descriptions on the Cleveland Kurentovanje website. These films have been made possible through the generous support of the Slovenian Film Center, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Vertigo Ljubljana and the Consulate General of The Republic of Slovenia in Cleveland. Links to the films will be sent to those who register for free/donation-based tickets and will be live for 24-hours to allow for flexible viewing.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1793239910844194/
1:00pm: Storytime and Sing-a-long with Cleveland Kurentovanje
The youngest Cleveland Kurentovanje fans are invited to virtually join us as Maria Bruner reads the classic Slovenian Folktale, Martin Krpan, and John V. Srsen leads us in singing some traditional Slovenian Children’s songs. Martin Krpan is the heroic story of a simple man with extraordinary strength and courage (similar to America’s Paul Bunyan) who defeats the harrowing giant. While this event is geared towards children, individuals of all ages will enjoy this exciting tale and Slovenian sing-a-long!
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/443420470349464/
2:30pm: Build Your Own Kurent Craft & Demo
How would you like to have your own family Kurent? Cleveland Kurentovanje invites families to participate in a “Build your own tabletop Kurent” craft activity this year. This craft is offered as a FREE KIT with all the materials you’ll need provided, and we’ll be hosting a live-streamed event to walk your family through the crafting process. Each kit also includes an introduction to the mythology of the Slovenian Kurent – the beloved figure of the Kurentovanje festival, and a make-your-own bracelet to assist your little one in helping the Kurent to scare away Winter and welcome Spring. Families of any age who are interested in obtaining a Kurent craft kit, must register to reserve your kit.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/417740766209269/
Monday, February 8
6:00pm: Slovenian Cultural Day
Today we observe Prešeren Day — a major national holiday in Slovenia that celebrates Slovenian culture The day marks the anniversary of the death of Slovene nation poet France Prešeren in 1849 who has been generally acknowledged as the greatest Slovene classical poet. The virtual presentation will focus on Slovenian literature, poetry and music and has been made possible by the efforts of Consul General Alenka Jerak, Martin Marsic, Dr. Luka Zibelnik, Joe Valencic, and Julie Tromba.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/829191671263013/
Tuesday, February 9
7:00pm: Cooking with Cleveland Kurentovanje
Tune in for our second night of a three-part series with Slovenska Kuhinja and VSGT (Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism Maribor). Tonight, we are excited to present three demonstrations tonight including the all-time favorite, Strudel! This virtual demonstration comes from Canada – straight from the kitchen of Slovenska Kuhinja founder, Michelle Pušič Ryall. Register to receive a list of ingredients in advance so you can prepare the recipes as soon as you’re finished watching.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/166227451951164/
Wednesday, February 10
6:00pm: Slovenian Dual-Citizenship Information Session
Are you interested in forming a living connection to your heritage through dual citizenship? Then this presentation will be of great interest to you! Presented by Consul General Alenka Jerak, participants of this virtual presentation will learn about the process of obtaining Slovenian citizenship including an overview of eligibility, the application process, and required documents when applying. This presentation is made possible thanks to the Consulate General of The Republic of Slovenia in Cleveland.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/706020180115771/
7:30pm: “Traditional Carnivals in Slovenia and Their Changes Over Time” with The Slovene Ethnographic Museum
Have you ever wondered what Kurentovanje in Slovenia entails? Adela Pukl (M.A.) from the The Slovene Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana will discuss traditional pre-lenten Carnivals in Slovenia, detailing how Carnival customs represent the extremely varied and rich heritage of Slovenia, and are characterized by small local celebrations and carnivals in which locals dress in traditional carnival outfits and make the rounds of their own and neighboring villages. The presentation will feature both modern and historic photographs, as well as a film about the door-to-door rounds of Kurenti. This virtual presentation is made possible thanks to Adela Pukl and the The Slovene Ethnographic Museum.
Thursday, February 11
7:00pm: Cooking with Cleveland Kurentovanje
Tune in for our final night of a three-part series with Slovenska Kuhinja and VSGT (Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism Maribor). Tonight, we are excited to present three demonstrations including the challenging, but delicious, Štruklji! This virtual demonstration comes directly from local Clevelander, Mary Kozina-Cupar. Register to receive a list of ingredients in advance so you can prepare the recipes as soon as you’re finished watching.
Friday, February 12
8:00pm: Kurent JUMP Livestream!
The “Kurent Jump” is traditionally when the Kurents emerge from hibernation and start their mission of scaring away winter. Patty C and The Guys will provide musical entertainment as the Kurents make their appearance beside a bonfire and shake their bells to chase away winter! Gather with those in your household, enjoy some libations, and cheer on the Kurents from your living room!
Saturday, February 13
11:00-5:00pm – Collision Bend Brewing Co. & Cleveland Kurentovanje
Kurentovanje Pivo is back for the 2nd year and Cleveland Kurentovanje is thrilled to partner with Collision Bend Brewing Company to bring you all the food and drink that you’ll need for your own celebration! Guests can stop in to Collision Bend and enjoy food and drinks onsite, or you can purchase Kurentovanje style foods and drinks to-go. Four-packs of Kurentovanje Pivo will be for sale and pre-order food options are available at Cleveland-Kurentovanje.Ticketleap.com/meal-preorder. Additionally, the 3rd Annual Kurent Dash “Virtual” 5k race packet pickup will be available during this time. All COVID protocols must be observed for anyone on site, including but not limited to required mask wearing over mouth & nose at all times except when seated, social distancing, no congregating in open areas, and any other protocols put in place by State Officials and restaurant management. Collision Bend Brewing Co. is located on the East Bank of the Flats at 1250 Old River Road, Cleveland, OH 44113.
7:00pm – Virtual Cleveland Kurentovanje Concert
One of the most important aspects of the Cleveland Kurentovanje festival is the MUSIC! Bands play throughout the Slovenian National Home and dancing and singing is encouraged. Well, to keep on with this tradition, we’re producing a Virtual Concert with both live and pre-recorded elements! Headlining this concert and following strict COVID-19 precautions, The Chardon Polka Band and Bob Kravos & The Boys in the Band will play live from Slovenian National Home! Special guest musician, Hajime Anzai – Anže, will play live from Japan! Viewers are encouraged to pick up some Kurentovanje Pivo and delicious foods from Collision Bend Brewing Co. earlier in the day and bring it home to celebrate Kurentovanje with your “quaranteam!” Just because we can’t gather in person doesn’t mean you can’t “Party Your Bells Off” at home!
Ongoing through Sunday, February 7
Cleveland Kurentovanje Pen Pal Exchange
One of our favorite parts of Cleveland Kurentovanje is the joy of meeting new people. Make new friends! Meet people in your city or around the world! Sign up on the Cleveland Kurentovanje website to be matched up with a Pen Pal so that you can correspond with one another throughout the festival week.
Cleveland Kurentovanje Matchmaking Activity
Pandemic be damned, we’re bringing the sLOVEnian connection to Cleveland Kurentovanje! Social distancing and face masks have made it tough to form new relationships and swiping through apps is less than inspiring. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we invite participants to meet new people and discover potential love connections. Sign up on the Cleveland Kurentovanje website to be matched so that you have the option of attending a date at one of the many virtual festival events that week.
Ongoing throughout February 13
3rd Annual Cleveland Kurentovanje Kurent Dash Virtual 5k!
Run or walk, outdoors or on a treadmill – you choose! Join us, virtually, to complete the 5k race on your own during the month of February. Registration is open until February 13 and everyone who registers gets a 3rd Annual Kurent Dash long sleeve shirt. Packet & T-shirt pickups will be on Saturday, February 13 from 11am-5pm at Collision Bend Brewing Co.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1246496172418540/