08 February 2017

Prešern's day

 The 8th of February is a very special day in Slovenia. It's a national holiday dedicated to culture. We are celebrating our greatest poet, France Prešeren, who died on this day. Yes, we are celebrating his death. Not many people have the honour that the day of their death becomes the national holiday and National culture day as well.

Joke a side, we are celebrating his rich and prosperous legacy that he left behind. One of his poems was made in to nation anthem.

On the 8th of February, all the museums and galleries and other cultural institutions open their doors to visitors. Many different events occur during the day in different cities throughout of Slovenia.

Prešern's house where he lived and worked is now a museum with the original inside and furniture.

In Kranj, which is also called Prešern's city, as he lived his last three years, practising independently his own profession of advocacy, and where he died, there is a fair, named after the poet of course, going on and from tiny fair in it's beginnings it has become a massive (for Slovene standards that is) with more visitors each year.

This is the day when the city returns to the 19th century, with period clothing, habits and crafts that you can admire. You can also see Prešern himself walking the streets and greeting the visitors. 


And why it is such a big deal for us?

Prešeren was a romantic poet, who not only shook the social and cultural stream of that time with his very personal, insightful and almost visionary like poems, but he is still steering up some minds now days.

This is the man who wrote back in 1844:

God's blessing on all nations,
Who long and work for that bright day,
When o'er earth's habitations
No war, no strife shall hold its sway;
Who long to see
That all men free
No more shall foes, but neighbours be.
(Translation by Janko Lavrin)

Isn't that something we want to live by in our days?

The national anthem is only the seventh stanza of a much longer poem.

And the poem's name? A Toast.

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