Christmas in Slovenia

Since Father Christmas had heard that I and all the other residents of Radovljica have been so hard working and well-behaved this year, he came and paid us a visit on Friday, to coincide with the opening of the Advent Fair. The fair runs daily until 6pm on 24th December so there’s still time to pop along and have a glass (or two) of mulled wine, buy some handmade gifts and see Linhart Square in the medieval old town in all its festive glory.

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And the fun doesn’t end there! On the 26th December there will be a street performance by the Tobia Circus from Italy, taking place in Linhart Square at 5pm, which is free for all to watch and attend. Also, on the same day there will be a Christmas/New Year Concert by the Lesce Wind Orchestra taking place at 7.30pm in Linhart Hall (Linhartova dvorana) – this is a ticketed event. There are also other concerts and events taking place up until New Year, find out more here – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/advent-fair/83/110/

CIMG6959So, how is Christmas celebrated in Slovenia? What is/isn’t open? What is there to do, where to go? In the past, during the time of communism in the former Yugoslavia, Christmas, as we know it i.e. 25th December, wasn’t really celebrated or recognised. However, these days Slovenia is rapidly (too rapidly perhaps?) catching up on celebrating Christmas. As in many other countries in Europe, the evening of the 24th is when most families celebrate and get together for a special meal, exchange gifts and/or attend midnight mass. If you are visiting Slovenia at that time it is worth noting that many restaurants may be closed on this evening or close earlier than usual. Shops are usually open on the 24th but close a little earlier than usual. All shops are closed on the 25th and again this is a family day, often for some recreational activities perhaps skiing, hiking or visiting relatives. The 26th is also a public holiday, ‘Independence and Unity Day’ and therefore again many shops and business will be closed although some of the larger ones may open for a few hours in the morning. So in actual fact these days it isn’t far from the kind of Christmas I was used to in the UK other than the distinct lack of sprouts – thank heavens for that!

If you are looking for a festive event with a difference, every year, weather conditions permitting, there is a live ice nativity play held in the Mlačca Gorge in the village of Mojstrana. With the freezing temperatures we have had of late, this year’s event is going ahead and the performances are scheduled to begin on Christmas Day and then daily up to, and including, the 30th December and additionally on the 1st, 3rd and 4th of January. There are 3 shows per day; at 4pm, 5pm and 6pm. The entrance fee of 12 euros for adults and 8 euros for children also includes a walk through the ice kingdom, a gallery of nativity scenes and the nativity performance held in the frozen waterfall. Be sure to wrap up warmly but there are stalls selling hot drinks and food too. Reservations are not necessary. More information, available in Slovene and English,  can be found here – http://lednoplezanje.com/zive-jaslice-v-ledu/

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There’s no snow yet in the valley. We have had 2 weeks of very cold but mostly bright weather, followed by a period of slightly milder, cloudier, damp weather. It’s certainly different to last year’s winter when the snow came early and just kept on coming, and coming, and coming……… Who knows what the rest of this winter will bring – it’s anyone’s guess – but at least so far the ‘experts’ predictions that this year’s winter will be one of the coldest on record, doesn’t seem to be holding true.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!

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