Kurent (Korant, Korent, Kurant, Karant, Korat) is a fabulous or fairytale creature of Slovenian mythology, which is not known to other nations. In the narratives of the 19th century Kurent appears as a god of joy and wine. In some other narratives, Kurent is known as a creature who with the magical instrument persuades people, including Death, to dance, or as a patron saint of joy and life-giving, especially during the carnival time (St. Kurent).
Since they once celebrated the new year on March 1 (beginning of the Spring), Kurent was a pioneer and the initiator of a new life brought by the spring and patron of unlimited joy.
The most common belief nowadays is that Kurent chases away Winter, brings spring and abundance to the land.
It’s easy to recognise them by their typical attire known as Kurentija. The attire consists of a massive sheep skin suit, red knee-high stockings (green also), big bells attached to a chain around the belt and a Ježevka (a wooden club topped with hedgehog spines). Women give Kurent their handkerchiefs as presents and Kurent attach them to their wooden clubs. The head of a Kurent’s mask is a major work of folk art in Slovenia. The masks are made of leather, with two holes cut out for the eyes, and a single hole cut out for the mouth. The holes are surrounded with red paint. A trunk-like nose is attached, along with whiskers made of twigs and teeth made of white beans. The final touch is a long, red tongue which dangles down to the chest. The mask is the “face part” of a huge head dressed in sheep skin. There are two types of Kurt nowadays, “feathery” and “horned”, with the difference being mainly in the look of the head covering.
Kurent’s Bells are attached around their waists.
The Kurent travels throughout the town, moving from house to house to scare off evil spirits with the noise of their bells. A devil acts as the leader of the procession. He is covered in a net to catch souls.
Kurent is just one of the carnival schemes and masks. However, the ritual dates back to the pre-Christian era and is one of the few celebrations that the Church has failed to transform or give new content. Masks attracted the spirits of their ancestors, and at the same time, in addition to a higher mythological role, winter demons and ghosts were also extinguished.
Devil – the leader of the procession.