The Dragon carnival traditionally held in Ljubljana consists of a large Shrovetide carnival parade through the city's streets and a programme of entertainment held in the centrally located Kongresni trg square. The carnival parade includes, among others, a number of typical Slovenian carnival figures rooted in pagan tradition, such as 'kurent', 'laufar', 'morostar' and several others.
The Dragon Carnival will include carnival groups of traditional, ethnographically based carnival figures, children's carnival groups, and other organized groups of carnival figures.
The theme of the Dragon Carnival 2018 is The European Year of Cultural Heritage and the 70th anniversary of Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. The carnival will be marked with rich history of country's premier institution committed to carrying on the long and fruitful tradition of Slovenian puppetry. The building also hosts theatre productions and cultural and educational events for children, young people and adults.
The tradition of celebrating Shrovetide with masks and carnival processions dates back to ancient pagan times. After 1300, Central Europe saw the merging of pagan and Christian traditions and masked celebrations began to be held over the days preceding the 40-day fasting period of Lent.
Slovenian carnival figures are very colourful and Slovenian Shrovetide traditions, reflecting the distinctive local features of the rural environments of the past, unique in many ways.
The country's best known carnival figures are 'kurent', originating from the town of Ptuj, 'laufar' from the village of Cerkno, and 'škoromat' from the village of Hrušica. In Ljubljana's surrounding area the best known carnival figures are 'mačkara' and 'petelin' from the village of Dobrepolje.