8 February – The Day of France Prešeren: Programme of Events

On 8 February, Slovenia celebrates the France Prešeren[*] Day (official name in Slovenian – Prešernov dan, slovenski kulturni praznik), which is the country’s main cultural and national holiday, a day off in the Republic of Slovenia, the death day of the greatest Slovenian poet France Prešeren.

On this day, the official state ceremony is traditionally held, during which the France Prešeren Prizes are awarded – the France Prešeren Foundation awards for excellence in culture and art in Slovenia.

This ceremony on the poet’s death day was first held at the national level by the leadership of the National Liberation Movement in 1941, during the Second World War, but at that time it was regarded to as a celebration of Slavic unity and was officially celebrated on 7 February. 8 February has been celebrated as the Day of Slovenian Culture since 1945.

In the first week of February, Ljubljana hosts open-air concerts of various vocal bands. They perform at the memorable places associated with the life of Frances Prešeren.

In the poet’s hometown, Kranj, which is considered the cultural capital of the country, exhibitions and fairs, costumed performances of actors, buffoons, creative and folklore groups, excursions and master classes are held annually on 8 February.

In addition to the official Frances Prešeren awarding ceremony, numerous cultural events take place a few days before 8 February as part of this holiday. Directly on the day of the holiday, the entrance to the museums and galleries is free. Besides, residents and guests of the country can visit concerts, theatrical performances, film screenings, etc. free of charge.

To receive more information about events in Ljubljana and Kranj, follow the links 1, 2, 3 и 4.

Read more about holiday activities for children here.

Sources: neradni-dani.com, visitljubljana.com

[*] A note from 2TM:

France Prešeren is a Slovenian poet (3 December 1800, Vrba – 8 February 1849, Kranj).

France Prešeren was born in a peasant family. Upon successful completion of studies at the Faculty of Law of the University of Vienna, he returned to Ljubljana, where he worked as a lawyer. During this period, he wrote most of his poems, the creation of which was considerably assisted by his friend Matija Čop. Prešeren became the first Slovene, whose poetry managed to compete with the verses written by his contemporaries from other European countries, in which the Romantic style prevailed at that time.

Today, France Prešeren is considered the greatest poet of Slovenia. An excerpt from the seventh chapter of his poem Zdravica (in English: a toast), written in 1844, became the text of the national anthem of the Republic of Slovenia. The poetry of France Prešeren is considered a symbol of the 19th century Slovenian literature revival. A square is named and a number of monuments are installed in honour of France Prešeren in Slovenia. The image of France Prešeren is depicted on an old banknote of 1,000 tolars (Slovenian national currency used in 1992–2007) as well as on a 2 EUR coin used today.