Carnival in the Natisone Valleys

Carnival (PUST) has always been a festival of pagan origin, a rite that symbolizes the arrival of the new year, the transition from the cold of winter to the blossoming of spring.

Pust, a word that in the local Slovenian dialect means "Joke" and directly assumes the meaning of “Carnival”. It is also the word that identifies the main mask called "Pustije", "Pustic" or "Pustici", a dress covered from head to toe by fluttering multicolored fringes under which cowbells are hidden that create a great din at every jump. The Pustije enter all the alleys and courtyards with the "Kliesce", ingenious retractable wooden tongs, accompanied by the Devil and the Angel to remind them that winter is about to end and spring cleaning needs to be done. They upset the everyday life of the inhabitants by moving all the objects they find out of the way, overturning chairs and tables, taking off the shoes of passers-by.

Each village in the Valleys has its own symbolic mask:

In the hamlet of Rodda the protagonists are two: the Archangel Michael who keeps the chained Devil at bay.

In the hamlet of Mersino, a giant rooster and hen all covered with fringes are characteristic

In Montefosca there is the race of the "Blumarji", masks dressed in white with a colored tree headdress.

In Stregna you can see tin face masks, young people dressed as old people and the “Pustjak”, the evil spirit of the Carnival.

In Montemaggiore “Le Liepe”, “Le Belle” parade, with characteristic flowered hats, while in Clodig elaborate wicker masks are created.

The best way to experience this ritual, that has continued since the dawn of time, is to participate in the parades that are held every year, where all these groups parade along the main streets and you have the opportunity to see all together the unique masks of the Natisone Valleys.


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