On the 12th of March, every year is a special day in Slovenia. We celebrate Gregorjevo. Gregorjevo is a day when the birds marry, and the spring is finally coming. In the old Julian calendar, Gregorjevo was the first spring day. It is a Slovenian version of Valentine’s day but less commercial and much more pretty. Besides, Valentine’s day can be celebrated anywhere in the world, but Gregorjevo only in Slovenia.
Your future husband will be …
On Gregorjevo, girls look up in the sky and search for birds. You know why? The first bird a girl sees on Gregorjevo will tell her who she will marry. And the birds are never wrong.
Away with the darkness!
Because the winter is finally leaving, days are getting longer and brighter. For the workers and craftsmen, this meant they could finally quit using candles and petroleum lamps and worked only by the daylight. They celebrated this by cleaning their workshops and then putting the burning shreds or candles into baskets and then putting them into the river to be carried away. They did not need them for half a year. Between the world wars, children started following them and building wooden or paper rafts with candles and putting them into the water.
Light falls into the water
The custom is still present nowadays and is a beautiful way to spend the afternoon. In many places in Slovenia, you can attend celebrations of Gregorjevo. Usually, they start early in the afternoon with the crafting of the rafts which are called gregorčki. Late in the afternoon, just before dark, children put little rafts with candles into rivers and streams, and the flow of the water carries them. It is a beautiful sight. Some of the rafts are real masterpieces! You can then see the children running along the streams and cheering for their gregorčki to float longer than any other.
Rafts with huge mustaches
Gregorjevo is celebrated in many places in Slovenia, and this year, we attended the celebration in Vrhnika. Vrhnika is a birthplace of one of the Slovenian most known writers, Ivan Cankar. Also, gregorčki were dedicated to him. Some of the ships had huge mustaches which were Cankar’s trademark or were representing scenes and objects from his books. He is most known by a short story entitled A cup of coffee, so of course, some rafts were shaped like a (you’ll never guess) cup of coffee!
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So if you would like to build your gregorček, let it float on the water and carry away the darkness of the winter or know your future husband, be sure to plan to be in Slovenia next March. And we’ll make sure to remind you on time!
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