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Slovenia Weekly

Unity. Happiness. Reconciliation.


Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
The author of these prophetic words ranks as one of the most important figures in history, and the greatest Slovenian poet, to whom a national holiday is devoted on 8 February. This is a day that always inspires thoughts about France Prešeren as a historically important figure and about the importance that culture and language have for the state and nation. The Slovenians are one of the rare – if not the only – nations that celebrate a cultural day as a national holiday, and there are few nations that owe their cultural identity in such degree to one single person.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar is convinced that it is our duty today to continue to pursue unity, happiness and reconciliation and to take Prešeren's prophetic words as an ideal which we must strive, through our actions, to approach ever more closely. The Prime Minister was speaking to those assembled at one of the most prominent events marking the Slovenian cultural holiday – the traditional Prešeren Fair (Prešernov smenj) in Kranj. In this way we will best show how it is culture – which is not just the art of creating something, but is also our attitude towards our fellow human beings – that has always been and must remain the foundation of our society, added the Prime Minister.

Current times are perhaps not inclined towards art, let alone artists and those working in the arts. Yet Slovenians are very well aware of the importance of culture for the development of the nation, since throughout history we have always accorded it the necessary understanding, drawn inspiration from it and resorted to it in difficult times. Around this cultural holiday it is therefore a time of Prešernovanje: celebrating the poet, whose name in Slovenian also means “merry”. And a positive and uncompromising artistic spirit does not surrender, even in the hardest times.

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