“Laufarija” of Cerkno

One of the most recognizable traditional carnival groups in Slovenia


A strong element of the local identity for the municipality and its residents is attributed to the “laufarji”, one of the most recognizable carnival groups in Slovenia. The “Laufarija” of Cerkno has been taking place for centuries according to unwritten rules, which were passed on from generation to generation. The group has 25 characters now and their characteristic feature is their masks (there are 26 of them), which are called “larfe” and are carved out of linden tree wood.

Some of their clothes are sewn out of natural materials (ivy, straw, moss, spruce, animal skin). The masks and the characters of the Cerkno “Laufarija” represent the characteristics and weaknesses of individual groups in the population. The main character is Pust. Moss is sewn onto his clothing and he carries a young spruce tree in his hand. He is accompanied by »ta bršljanov« (Eng. the Ivy Man), »ta tierjasta« (Eng. two Thread Men), »ta star« (Eng. the Old Man), »ta stara« (Eng. the Old Woman), and »lamant«, etc. The only mask that speaks is »ta star« (Eng. the Old Man).

Every single year at the square in Cerkno Pust is sentenced to death by “bot” – a lumberjack mallet. Pust is guilty of everything negative and awkward that happened nearby or slightly further away. The conviction of Pust takes place as a complete play in the dialect of Cerkno. The “Laufarija” of Cerkno has been entered in the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovenia since February 2012. With a decree by the government of the Republic of Slovenia, it was also declared as Intangible Heritage of National Importance in 2014.

More info at: www.laufarija-cerkno.si and permanent exhibition called Pust is to Blame! – A Story about the Cerkno Laufarija.