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 Prešeren 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.
Prešeren Day timeline
France Prešeren is born on December 3, 1800.
Prešeren composes a poem – “Zdravljica (A Toast).”
The Bureau of Slovenian National Liberation council proclaims the day as a cultural holiday.
Prešeren day is a work-free holiday years after it was declared a public holiday.
Prešeren 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 Prešeren Day
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?
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.
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
The Prešeren family
The family is among the oldest historically documented peasant clans in the Gorenjska region.
Leaving home at eight
France Prešeren first left home at the age of eight when he was sent to elementary school.
He was very generous
He was famous for his generosity, especially toward children and the needy.
There is no portrait of the poet
Prešeren does not have a portrait that would have been made during his lifetime.
A quiet man
The poet was described as a quiet and untalkative person.
Why Prešeren Day is Important
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!
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.
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.
Prešeren Day dates