Pust is here carnival in Ilirska Bistrica

Date: 21 February 2019

Pust represents a symbolic farewell to winter and the longing for the arrival of spring; merriment, mischief and plenty represent the allure of the Pust festivities.

Pust represents a symbolic farewell to winter and the longing for the arrival of spring; merriment, mischief and plenty represent the allure of the Pust festivities.

Škoromati Podgrad 1

Pust customs have always been considered very significant in Slovenia, which is why Pust was a special time of the year for the locals. Dance balls and door-to-door rounds are still being organised in many towns and villages in an effort to present the Pust customs practiced by our ancestors.

In the valley of Ilirska Bistrica, the local Pust customs have always been considered important events of the year. Thanks to the locals, some ethnological masks have been preserved to this day and are known all over Slovenia and beyond.

Pustna skupina Pust je pršu Ilirska Bistrica

There are many customs connected with Pust, but all the villages in our municipality have one in common – poberija (gathering) – which is carried out by local Pust groups on different days during the festival. In the past, a group of šjme (masks) would visit every single house in the village, unless there was a recent death in the family. By entering the house, the masks brought good health, luck, joy, a good harvest and all the best in the year. It was also customary to give gifts to the masked visitors; these offerings usually included eggs and sausages which were prepared and consumed at the end of the day. Poberija has recently turned into a very interesting event for visitors who take part as onlookers and are interested in learning about the Pust customs of our ancestors.

Pust je pršu 2018 povorka (foto Marko Vidmar)

Slovenia has so many different types of Pust characters and figures that it is sometimes called “Europe in miniature”, which holds true for our municipality as well. This year, the event calendar during the festival will once again be very varied and oriented towards different age groups. Art lovers will be able to admire a Pust-themed exhibition in the gallery inside Dom na Vidmu. Children will have a chance to get creative in the Pust workshops and they will have a lot of fun enjoying the Pust festivities, while adults will be able to dance the night away at the Pust dance ball. On “Fat Thursday”, a marquee tent in the Nada Žagar Park will host the traditional transfer of authority to Pust and the presentation of the delicious Pust dishes of our municipality. The festivities will reach their peak on Sunday, 3 March, when the 24th traditional Pust je pršu (“Pust is here”) parade will take place on the streets of Ilirska Bistrica. Many different Pust groups take part in the annual parade, most of them from the Ilirska Bistrica municipality, but also groups from other parts of Slovenia and traditional groups from neighbouring Croatia, who come here every year to help our šjme (masks) to scare away winter. 

Pust je pršu 2018 (foto Marko Vidmar)

This year, the Pust parade will once again host more than twenty Pust groups – some have been taking part for many years, while others will be joining for the first time. The event would not be the same without the presence of the oldest attested Pust mask brkinski škoromati, but other masks will also be making an appearance, such as vrbišće šjme, vrbovske šjme, kurenti and zvončari from neighbouring Croatia. Apart from the ethnological masks, the parade is also attended by many modern masks, which represent topical events from modern times and guarantee that the visitors will have fun.

We would like to invite you to attend one of the events, share your good spirits and joy, and help us scare away winter.

Long live Pust!

(You can find more information about the event calendar of the Pust je pršu event on the website of the Municipality of Ilirska Bistrica: https://ilirska-bistrica.si/turizem/prireditve).

Zvončari 2018 (foto Marko Vidmar)


Mateja Kakež, Pokrajinski muzej Koper, enota Il. Bistrica