8. Febuary - Slovenian National Day of Culture aka Prešeren’s day
ZDRAVLJICA (The Toast) - Slovenian national anthem
Live, oh, live, all nations
who yearn 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!
By the time I post this, Prešeren’s day will have ended, but I wanted to share a bit of our culture with you.
To give you a bit of background, France Prešeren was a romantic poet considered to this day our greatest bard who raised our language to literary hights on par with the best of Europe. He was also politically active in trying to awaken in Slovenians (at the time (The Spring of Nations,1848) a provincial Slav people in a Germanic Austro-Hungarian Monarchy) a sense of pride in and belonging to our nation. Zdravljica is literally a toast to us! And the 7. stanza (/8) soon became a rallying cry that united us in times of great hardship and socio-political upheaval all the way to 1990, when it officially became the anthem of the newborn Republic of Slovenia.
Personally I like to sing it because it is so inclusive, peaceful and visionary. I would be uncomfortable belting out some nationalistic nonsense, but these are words in which I actually believe and take pride.
On this day all museums, galleries, and cultural monuments are open to all admission-free. School children attend theatre or opera around this day (which is a bank holiday), and many watch the official state celebration which is basically singing and dancing and reciting interrupted by speeches. The latter are usually soul crushingly boring despite being full of thinly veiled wounded egos, jaded barbs and haughtily philosophical social criticism. I’ve generally found it all quite disillusioning.
Soo, let’s hit youtube and share in Slovenian national heritage!
Neanderthal Bone Flute Music
We are certainly not the first and hopefully won’t be the last people to live on and love this land. In fact human history goes all the way back to the Neanderthals with their first human musical instruments, the prehistoric peoplecruising about in a state-of-the-art two-wheel cart and living in BC version of Venice, to theRomancitiesthat turned into medieval fortified towns. Despite Christianity’s best efforts we have held onto some ancient traditions, like the current “Mardi Gras” celebrations, and are rediscovering the Old Religion, which it turns out was only finally rooted out by the chaos and social changes of the World Wars.
We are today a modern democratic republic with a free market economy and an enlightened society frolicking in untouched forests and shouting our glory from mountaintops. So to speak.
Actually we have 99 First World and 99 Post-Communism Transition, 99 What-is-Multiculturalism PROBLEMS and a few that are uniquely Slovenian (many of them stemming from the Important People trying to be Big Fish not knowing they are fighting for supremacy of the kiddie pool on deck of TheGlobal Capitalism sailing the high seas.)
Khm. Today is about cultureso let me give you a taste:
Take a road trip on foot across Slovenia with two girls and three guys to the soundtrack of our folk rock legend Vlado Kreslin (the song title is From Goričko (start) to Piran (destination)). Please note: ostrich is not native to Slo; now you know what a donkey sounds like, you’re welcome :)
Kekec is an iconic film and a character deeply rooted in our hearts. Everyone melts and brightens at his mere mention - this mischievous little boy and his adventures as a shepherd (oops, I’d first spelt it Sheppard, my fandom is showing ;) in the mountains are like a beloved childhood teddy bear of a whole nation. When he goes around singing songs like: “stream, mighty wind, white stars above the mountains, they go with me all to the end of this wide world. I go around and seed good will among the people, in one hand i carry the sun, in the other the golden laughter” it’s no wonder.
Siddhartais by far the hottest Slovenian band. From their first hit they’ve made it clear that Siddi are no cookie-cut emo violent rockers. Their sound is ever evolving and yet uniquely Siddharta. I was 11 when they dropped Pot v X and as far from a rock fan as you can imagine, but I’ve loved them ever since. The lyrics are thought-provoking and emotionally evocative and smart. They don’t use the obvious lovey-dovey rhymes and motifs and they treat our poor beleaguered language with respect. Have a yt playlist starting with my favourite song!
These shacks may not look much, but they were a safe haven for hundreds of WW2 wounded soldiers.Franja Partisan Hospital was named at the time after the (female) dr. Franja Bojc who was the leading physician. The stories this place could tell would make for a sick (anti-)war movie. Despite the ridiculously adverse conditions and the Nazis combing the hills to find them, the survival rate was admirable. I can’t quite remember, but I think of the soldiers who made it here alive (which was no easy feat - a soldier described the transportation up the creek in the dark was so painful and terrifying, he thought they were taking him to hell) up to 75% survived, and Franja was for those with the worst wounds. Everything was washed away in a flash flood in 2007, so they had to rebuild the whole thing as seen here (check out the WW2 veterans toward the end, a common sight at state celebrations.)
Though the idea that multiculturalism might be a good thing is only slowly taking root among the somewhat defensive 2 million Slovenians, there have been souls brave enough to choose Slovenia as their new home. But let Michael Manske tell you how that’s been going for him in this hilarious and all too true radio show How to become a Slovenian.
Sport is also of huge importance to us. True, our sports organisations are chronically underfunded, and be we can be a bit hot and cold with our champions on their off seasons, but when we cheer we JUMP! Because, “If you don’t jump, you’re not Slovene, hey, hey, hey!!!” We love winter sports like ski jumps, slalom, downhill, cross country, but also athletics,gymnastics, swimming and team sports like basketball, volleyball, and football.
Here are some of our Olympic medallists and World Champions.
Vesna Fabjan, Tina Maze, Peter Prevc, Žan Košir, Soči 2014
Urška Žolnir, Judo, London 2012
Petra Majdič, Vancouver 2010, cross country sprint (partly with a broken rib)
Primož Kosmos, hammer throw, London 2012
triple Slo victory in Sapporo 2016, brothers Prevc and Robert Kranjec, Lanišek 7th
Franc Pinter, Athens 2004
Miro Cerar, gymnastics (horse) Tokio 1964&Ciudad de Mexico 1968 at the monument to the legendary Leon Štukelj, gymnastics, Paris 1924, Amsterdam 1928&Berlin 1936
I’m kinda mad at myself. I’m mad because I went out of my way to go to a popular bookstore here in Canada, to see if they had Glass Sword. And they didn’t. I know I checked this morning, and when I went there I checked again on their computer. I was a little bummed, but they don’t usually have books out on the first day of their release anyway. I did not ask anyone who worked at that store to see when their delivery would be there.
I got home and checked for the book on their app, and I shit you not, they now have 72 Glass Sword books.
not that anyone cares but speaking of cats, every time my sister and i would go back to romanian to visit, my grandparents would prepare me a batch of kitties to choose from. like they asked all their neighbors and friends and theyd get at least 7+ kitties so by the time i arrived, there would be just kitties all over the yard. funniest memory is a few weeks after i got there, there were already 6 kitties there– and one day i hear the doorbell ring so i run to get the door and its these two oooooooold grannies holding a box and a bag. they come inside and lo and behold - you know what is in the box and bag? two new cats for me- black ones!! bc my grandma knew that black cats were my favorite so she called her granny friends and they brought over two cats- one was a TINY BABY WITH BLUE EYES and the other one was an adult but it was SO SMART AND HYPER omg he was adorable my sis loved him he was kind of like a dog so playful.
anyways cutest memory- the two old hungarian ladies with black kitties in a box/bag ;A;