The Christmas period in Slovenia is a religious holiday and you will find people following the Christian traditions here. A majority of the Slovenes are Catholics, or they grew up in Christian households. The country follows the regular Christmas traditions across Europe, although there are unique customs and traditions that you will only find here.

Generally, the month of December in Slovenia is about friendship, family, love, and celebrations. The people are very generous and various gifts are given during the period. It is also a perfect time to bond with your friends and family as people relax and unwind. 

There are different parts of the country where the local people are reviving the old traditions that were common in ancient times. The people in rural Slovenia want to enjoy their winter solstice traditions and the integration of the Catholic Church and the local traditions forms a major part of the culture in the region.

Christmas Customs and Traditions in Slovenia

Christmas decorations in Ljubljana

The winter solstice is a common celebration in the country as the people have revived this celebration. The event was marked by longer days and shorter nights and the pagans celebrated this period because it was a triumph of good over evil. Catholicism has taken a major part of the country’s cultures and traditions and over the years people have become more accustomed to the Christian traditions in the region. 

During the winter solstice, the Slavs and Slovenes celebrated the birth of Svarožič. He was the son of the young son, and the Slavic people called him Božič which is now common in Slovenia as a Christmas celebration.

In ancient times the Slovenes did not celebrate Christmas and during the Soviet era, it was not common to see people celebrating this holiday. It was until the fall of the Soviet era that people began celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December.

Some of the most important holiday celebrations in Slovenia include St. Nicholas Day, Grandfather Frost, and Christmas Day. The holiday in the country usually begins when the cities are lit up with Christmas lights and the people begin the preparation for the Christmas holiday. Here are some of the common Christmas traditions in Slovenia.

St. Nicholas Day and Miklavž

Once the festivities begin in Slovenia, there are some exceptional holidays. The first event that marks the Christmas period in Slovenia is Miklavž and it is celebrated on December 5th or 6th, depending on the year. The period is also commonly known as the feast of St. Nicholas. 

St. Nicholas is a character in Slovenia that is known to promote good behavior among children. On this day, the children will clean their rooms and brush their shoes. Once the shoes are shining, they will then place them on the window. It is believed that St. Nicholas will put small presents into their shoes. The most common presents are candies, sweets, and chocolates.

St. Nicholas will only reward children who are on good behavior throughout the year. The children who misbehave will be given twigs or coal. Krampus also visits during this period, and he carries coal. The children who were naughty in the past year will get coal instead of sweets and candies.

St. Nicholas is similar to Santa Claus. The Miklavž day is an important tradition in Slovenia, and you will find many people enjoying it.

St. Lucia Day

The day after St. Nicholas day is commonly called the feast of St. Barbara or St. Lucia. During this time, you will find many Slovenes usually expect wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is considered a symbol of prosperity in Slovenia, and it is commonly called Štajerska or Christmas grain.

During this period the Slovenes will begin their decorations and you will find that people will decorate their houses with all kinds of flowers, among other forms of decorations. You will also find nativity wreaths and evergreen branches.

Sveti večer

This is the most important day in the country, and it is Christmas Eve. During Christmas Eve in Slovenia, the country is a beehive of activities, and this is when families will light up candles, usually three. Each candle is a representation of the Holy Trinity, the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. 

The candles are then put into their wheatgrass, and this will offer a glow. The candles are known to represent the persona of the soul and it is during this day that the Christmas tree will receive its decoration. Just like many European countries, the Slovenes gather during this period to decorate their Christmas tree.

It is a time when they converge as well to have a meal. You will find that in some places people will enjoy their dishes with some kind of mulled wine or a beverage of their choice.

Nativity scenes in Slovenia

The creation of a nativity scene is usually done on Christmas Eve. The most important part of the nativity scene is the Holy Trinity. The tradition goes back hundreds of years, and you will find that people are fascinated by this tradition, and it is still maintained across the country.

Nativity scenes in homes around the country are common iterations that you will find in the region. It is far common even in public spaces and you will find people across the country enjoying this kind of decoration. The people will put the nativity scenes in places where they can be seen by other people.

There are two iconic places in Slovenia that you can visit to see some of the exceptional nativity scenes on the planet. The best locations are Ljubljana Franciscan Church or Postpone Cave in Postojna. Visiting these places is a pilgrimage in itself and you will find that the people in this country usually enjoy it.

Christmas trees in Slovenia

Perhaps one of the most outstanding traditions in the country is the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree decoration is usually done on Christmas Eve, and you will find people from different parts of the country decorating it. It is common for the male members of the family to go to the forest early in the morning to look for a perfect tree. Once they have found it, they will then bring it back home.

Many people across Slovenia will often use evergreen decorations and it is a common practice to see people decorating the tree on Christmas Eve. Fir and wreaths are also commonly used in the region. They usually decorate it and add Christmas lights to make the tree seem more alive.

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The families will add a Christmas cutout and light to the tree giving it the perfect decoration that it deserves. The major cities in the country will also have Christmas trees in the public squares and gardens. The streets are also lit up with Christmas lights.

Different homes in the country usually have fruits, candles, and other items to decorate their Christmas tables. This is commonly known to bring good luck to the family.

Christmas food and drinks in Slovenia

The Christmas period is never complete in Slovenia without some of the legendary dishes in the country. One of the most awaited things during the Christmas period are the amazing dishes served in Slovenia during this period.

There are Christmas pastries, and these include potica, which is a rolled cake with different fillings such as bananas, walnuts, and coconut.

Božični kruh is a common Christmas fruit bread that is among the oldest dishes in the country. It is usually done by baking three loaves of bread, and this is a replica of the nativity scene. The family will then share the first loaf of bread on Christmas day and the remaining on the subsequent days.

Gingerbread is also very common in the country, as well as cinnamon cakes.

Regional drinks and dishes in Slovenia

The Christmas period in Slovenia is a unique time because you get to involve yourself in the culture and the traditions of the local people. During this period some different drinks and dishes are served throughout the country. The different regions of the state usually serve unique dishes.

The most common food that you will find during this period is pečenka which is a pork loin with skin on and it is often roasted with different spices and vegetables. There are other meals that you will find prevalent during the period, and these include roasted turkey which is a common Christmas dish. 

The people will have Slovenian wine or mulled wine during the Christmas period. In regions where there are no turkeys, people will often cook goose with fish or game food. The urban population prefers codfish with potatoes while in the rural areas, people will go for black pudding, Kranjska Kobasa, and sauerkraut.

Some of the other regional dishes that you are going to find in the country include dried cod, fritters, and fruit bread as well. Roast meats and pastries like potica are far more common and there are various activities such as Christmas mass during this period.

Christmas day in Slovenia

Christmas day in Slovenia is an eventful day and you will find that people across the country usually consider this day a religious day as they visit family and friends around the country. People indulge in a wide array of activities such as skiing and hiking.

Many people usually consider this day a time for family, bonding, and celebrations. Many businesses across the country are usually closed during this time. The badnik big tree stump continues to burn and it is essential as it keeps the people warm through the night.

In the Bela Krajina region, the yule log is usually left to burn, and you can find people using different kinds of trees.

New Year’s Eve in Slovenia

Christmas traditions usually do not end on December 25th, in Slovenia, the country will celebrate New Year’s Eve just like Christmas as well.  The New Year’s Eve is reserved for Grandpa Frost and during this time you will find people exchanging gifts.  The myths that surround Grandpa Frost are similar to that of St. Nicholas and he is known to give gifts to the children.

Three Kings’ day

This is an important part of the Slovenian festive celebrations. The people across the country usually gather around and they will often prepare feasts. They will bless their houses with incense and water, and it is common practice to write the initials of the three kings between the new year such as 20MBG24.

In summary, Christmas in Slovenia is a time for generosity, family, friendships, and festivities across the country. It is a perfect time to celebrate the blessings of the past year and reflect on ways of making the new year an exceptional one. It is an ideal time to meet other family and friends who have been away throughout the year.

Let’s learn more about Christmas in the neighboring countries:

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.