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Preseren Day – February 8, 2023

It’s Prešeren Day in Slovenia on February 8! This day commemorates the death of Slovene poet and the greatest Slovene classical author France Prešeren who died on February 8, 1849. Prešeren Day is one of the most widely celebrated Slovene holidays. On this holiday, all state and national galleries and museums offer free entry, along with many other cultural events being observed. The holiday is happily observed not only in Slovenia but also in other Slovene communities all around the world.

History of Preseren Day

France Prešeren was born on December 3, 1800, into a peasant family in Vrba, Gorenjska. He was noted for his sonnets and in 1844 he composed a poem — “Zdravljica (A Toast),” which is the seventh stanza in the Slovenian national anthem. During World war II, Slovene artists were subdued and they were forbidden from expressing themselves while Slovenia stayed occupied. The anniversary of Prešeren’s death became a central marker for the recognition of Slovenian culture.

After the end of World War II, the day was proclaimed a cultural holiday in 1945. It was previously a public holiday but eventually, it was declared a work-free holiday, in 1991. The same year the country acknowledged its independence. The declaration of Prešeren Day as a work-free day in 1991 was opposed by many. Some argued it would bring about the ban of the holiday formulated for the dedication of cultural events. And as a result of the chaos, the anniversary of the poet’s birth on December 3, became famously celebrated as an optional holiday.

Today both days are almost equally celebrated, with no opposition between the two, however only Prešeren Day in February is officially observed as a national holiday. As the day celebrates the Slovenian culture established to boost cultural awareness, the eve of this holiday which is February 7, uncovers Prešeren Awards and the Prešeren Fund Awards — the highest Slovenian recognition for cultural achievements being granted. Although starting in Slovenia, the holiday spread throughout the world in several Slovenia communities.

Preseren Day timeline

1800
Prešeren is Born

France Prešeren is born on December 3, 1800.

1844
Prešeren's Poem

Prešeren composes a poem – “Zdravljica (A Toast).”

1945
Prešeren Day Begins

The Bureau of Slovenian National Liberation council proclaims the day as a cultural holiday.

1991
It is a Work-Free Holiday

Prešeren day is a work-free holiday years after it was declared a public holiday.

Preseren Day FAQs

What language did France Prešeren speak?

His primary language was Slovene but he learned Ancient Greek, German, and Latin at a very young age.

Did he have a daughter?

Yes. His daughter Ernestina wrote a memoir where she described the relationship between him and her mother. He also had two other children, Terezija Jelovšek and Franc Jelovšek.

Did Prešeren get married?

France Prešeren did not get married but was involved with an attractive servant — Ana Jelovšek — with whom he had his three children.

How to Observe Preseren Day

  1. Visit the right spots

    Prešeren Day comes with free entry into public museums and galleries. And since it is a holiday, why not visit one (or more) to feel the historical ambiance around you?

  2. Know the facts

    Gather the right facts about this day to make it more fun to celebrate. Make sure to get it from a good source and enjoy your newfound or refreshed knowledge.

  3. Spread the word

    If you previously knew about this day or have recently learned about its significance, several others do not know of this special holiday. So share your knowledge, use social media, or chip it in conversations with your family and friends.

5 Incredible Facts About Prešeren

  1. The Prešeren family

    The family is among the oldest historically documented peasant clans in the Gorenjska region.

  2. Leaving home at eight

    France Prešeren first left home at the age of eight when he was sent to elementary school.

  3. He was very generous

    He was famous for his generosity, especially toward children and the needy.

  4. There is no portrait of the poet

    Prešeren does not have a portrait that would have been made during his lifetime.

  5. A quiet man

    The poet was described as a quiet and untalkative person.

Why Preseren Day is Important

  1. It's a holiday

    Holidays are meant to be observed and when it comes to holidays that are worth celebrating, Prešeren Day is a special one. We love this!

  2. We remember France Prešeren

    Prešeren has global recognition because of the incredible work he accomplished during his lifetime. He was a great man who deserves to be recognized.

  3. We get to socialize

    This holiday gives us a chance to mingle with like-minded people. So let's help inform the world about the holiday and volunteer to help out with any little task concerning it, online and offline.

Preseren Day dates

YearDateDay
2023February 8Wednesday
2024February 8Thursday
2025February 8Saturday
2026February 8Sunday
2027February 8Monday

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