Today Slovenia Celebrates the Day of France Prešeren

The Day of France Prešeren (Slovene: Prešernov dan, slovenski kulturni praznik) is the main Slovenian cultural holiday.

This is an official day off in Slovenia. The majority of institutions do not work. Shops and pharmacies are closed. However, museums and galleries continue working and, more than that, they offer free of charge visits on 8 February. Information about other cultural events in Ljubljana, Maribor, Celje, Kranj and Koper dedicated to the Day of France Prešeren can be found here.

On this day, the official state ceremony takes place annually, at which the France Prešeren awards are presented. The awarding ceremony is held by the Prešeren Fund, which presents prizes for significant achievements in the field of culture and art in Slovenia.

France Prešeren is considered one of the greatest poets of the country. The words from the seventh chapter of his poem “Zdravljica” are officially used as the national anthem of the Republic of Slovenia. In honour of France Prešeren, a square is named and a number of monuments are installed. The image of the poet is depicted on an old banknote of 1 thousand tolars (Slovenian national currency used in 1992–2007) as well as on a 2-euro coin.

France Prešeren was born on 3 December 1800 in the settlement of Vrba in a peasant family. Upon successful completion of training at the Faculty of Law of the University of Vienna, he returned to Ljubljana. In the capital, he worked as a lawyer. During that period, he wrote the majority of his poems, the creation of which was considerably assisted by his friend Matija Čop. France Prešeren became the first Slovene, whose poetry managed to compete with the verses written by his contemporaries in other European countries, in which the Romantic style prevailed at that time. The poetry of France Prešeren is considered a symbol of the 19th century Slovenian literature revival.