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The annual Dragon Carnival gives you an opportunity to get to know the wealth of Slovenia's Shrovetide traditions. Make sure not to miss the carnival parade through the streets of the historical city centre of Ljubljana on Shrove Saturday, which falls on 6 February this year.

The Ljubljana Dragon Carnival may not be the country's largest carnival event of its kind, but it is becoming increasingly renowned for its huge carnival mascot, one of the largest in Europe. Apart from its mascot, a dragon, which is the symbol of Ljubljana, the carnival parade also includes most of the traditional carnival figures representative of Slovenia's unique Shrovetide heritage.

The European tradition of Shrovetide carnivals, whose origins date back to pagan times, has taken a unique and colourful path of development in Slovenia. The tradition of Shrovetide celebrations, which begin on Shrove Saturday and end on Shrove Tuesday, stems from ancient Slavic customs and has, despite initial opposition on the part of the Church, survived to the present day, particularly in the rural parts of the country.

Slovenia's best known traditional carnival figures include 'kurent' from the town of Ptuj, 'laufar' from the village of Cerkno, and 'škoromat' from the Brkini Hills. At the Ljubljana Dragon Carnival, you can see most of the country's traditional carnival figures, accompanied by costumed children from Ljubljana's primary schools and all kinds of modern carnival characters inspired by issues of relevance today.