Yesterday was Prešeren Day here in Slovenija. That meant that when I tried to go to the gym, the bank, the train station, and the grocery store, everything was closed.
So what did I do instead on a lovely, crisp, and sunny day in the mid-5os? Try not to hate me too much, fellow New Englanders who have not escaped to warmer weather, but I took a lovely two-hour power walk around the city. So much better than actually going to the gym! Sun! Air! Birds chirping! Lovely!
So why a national holiday? France Prešeren–the namesake of Slovenija’s central square with the pink church–is arguably Slovenija’s best-known poet. He’s also the author of the national anthem. In a non-American twist, instead of celebrating the day someone is born, here they celebrate the day someone dies. Celebrating their passing into a better life? Or just glad to see them go? Either way, it was a day off from the regular work day…
Well, except for the museum workers. They still had to work. Because on Prešeren Day, most museums in the city are open to the public for free!
This is what my Slovenian textbook “Gremo Naprej” has to say about the February 8 holiday: “Po vsej Sloveniji organizirajo različne kulturne prireditve. Veliko ljudi gre v muzeje in galerije, ker na ta dan ni vstopnine. V spomin na največjega slovenskega pesnika Franceta Prešerna znani Slovenci pred njegovim spomenikom v Ljubljani vsako leto berejo njegovo poezijo.”
In other words: All of Slovenija organizes various cultural events. Many people go to museums and galleries because they don’t require tickets on this day. In memory of the greatest Slovenian poet, France Prešeren, famous Slovenians read his poetry in front of his statue every year.”
I didn’t see anyone reading poetry in front of his statue yesterday, but I probably wasn’t out at the right time.
See how well my translation is going? :) Keep in mind that little blurb just sounds odd out of context because it was part of a game where you had four descriptions and four dates and had to match the dates to the descriptions of the holidays. The other major holidays included: New Year, Easter, and… Pust, a purely Slovenian holiday which I will write more about when it comes. Usually in February–but it could be in March, as it is affected by when Easter is each year–Pust is a celebration akin to the American Halloween! And they get Halloween, too! (Well, somewhat. Only some people adopt it from American culture. Pust is much, much bigger here).
Happy Prešeren Day, one day late!