Slovenian Culture and Heritage

I am not quite sure what is meant by Slovenian culture.  Is it what makes us different from others?  Or is it how we think about ourselves? Or is it the way we think? Or is it related to our language, our customs, our literature, our music, our art, our songs, our plays, our films and anything else that people do to express themselves.
I like to think that Slovenian culture is all of the above. 


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
David M. Cvet's picture

Perpetuum Jazzile: I have

Perpetuum Jazzile: I have recently learned about this most fascinating and innovative aspect of Slovenian culture from my sister.  This is a jazz group out of Ljubljana (I think), Slovenia regardless, and they do renditions of music completely from a human perspective, i.e. there are no instruments, all sounds are made by the body (hands, legs, voices, etc.).  There is a youtube rendition of "Africa" which is completely entertaining and enjoyable. See

The group is called "Perpetuum Jazzile" and their website for more info can be found at

wow...interesting ...thanks

wow...interesting ...thanks for the link!

David M. Cvet's picture

Culture is that which we

Culture is that which we identify ourselves with. My sense is that Slovenian culture in Canada/North America is NOT as strong or solid as one might find in Slovenia itself, and I am open to discussion on this point. This may be typical for most cultures which have expanded into other countries through emmigration or whatever. I think it is important that the Slovenian culture assert itself, in particular, in Canada as there are so many cultures resident, and most have never heard of Slovenia. So, it begs the question, what do we do about it? How do we preserve the culture so that our kids will be willing and interested in preserving the culture into the next generation? What aspects of the culture deserves our greatest attention to ensure it's survival into the future? How do we educate people of Slovenian decent and the rest who are not? How do we make it "cool" to be of Slovenian decent? I'm sure these are questions that everyone's thought about, and no doubt, there are many more. So, how does one define "Slovenian" culture, when "Slovenia" was only established as a sovereign nation on that historic day June 25, 1991? There are 25 dialects of Slovenian in a country of 2 million people made up of regions each having its own history, such as Carniola, Carantania, Styria and Goerz. How does one define a nation of peoples which have such dramatically different historical basis? I think the challenge is not too different from what Canadians are facing, which has such a wild range of cultures resident on Canadian soil. Perhaps the thing to do, is to define "Slovenian" culture through identifying and highlighting certain attributes which are unique to Slovenia, things which differentiate Slovenian culture from say, Croatian or Hungarian or Austrian cultures, attributes which makes one feel proud of our Slovenian heritage. I can start with highlighting some notable historical figures in the following list:

  1. Baron Jurij Bartolomej Vega (1754-1802) - a world famous mathematician born just east of Ljubljana having published a series of books of the first complete logarithmic tables eventually used all over the world, and was also the founder of ballistics science.
  2. Baron Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693) born in Ljubljana, Carniola (present-day Slovenia) to father Jernej and mother Ana Marija b. Ravbar. He spent a large amount of personal fortune publishing the most comprehensive heraldic armory containing coats of arms of notable Slovenian and Austrian families entitled "Opus Insignium Armorumque" 1687 - 1688 (Das Grosse Wappenbuch). His most important work remains the monumental The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Die Ehre deß Herzogthums Crain in German, Slava vojvodine Kranjske in Slovenian), published 1689 in 15 tomes, totalling 3532 pages and including 528 illustrations and 24 appendices, which provides a vivid description of the Slovenian lands of the time.
  3. Primož Trubar (1508-1586) born in Raš?ica (now apart of Velike Laš?e), was a key figure during the reformation period who was instrumental in the standardization of the language of Slovenian, crucial to their transformation into a modern nation. He had published the first Slovenian book in 1550 and translated the New Testament into Slovenian, being of the first twelve languages of the New Testament translations.

I think this is a good start, and the list can certainly be extended with further examples of notable historical figures and contemporary figures. There are also numerous attributes of the country of Slovenia, with some significant geologic and historical locations, architecture and art. Oh yes, one more important point. You can even get Slovenian beer here in Canada, at least in the LCBO. Laško is a popular ale in Slovenia, and I have introduced it to my colleagues at the Academy, and it has become the most popular and desireable ale to hoist after practices! I encourage you to visit your local LCBO and buy a case or two!

test.registrant's picture

If you take away the modifier

If you take away the modifier "Slovenian" you are left with "Culture" which is something that is claimed by a whole range of human entities - nationalities, tribes, clans, companies, political parties, etc., - arguably even as small as a family unit.  But the concept falters if it is applied to fewer than at least two people.  A single person doing something in a particular or peculiar way is simply considered to be demonstrating eccentric or idiosyncratic behaviour rather than culture.

If you are REALLY interested in "Culture" then a great place to start is at

Sadly, it seems to me that culture has been a divisive influence on human activities tending toward exclusional, selfish and and retributive behaviours rather than cooperative, sharing and forgiving ones.

Despite ongoing lip service to "Slovenian" culture, the Slovenian community is itself fragmented (or, has fragmented itself) into "culturally" distinct groups.

Culture as defined by

Culture as defined by Wikipedia refers to the World culture.   I want to limit myself to the Slovenian-Canadian culture.  That is the culture practiced by Canadians of Slovenian background.  Slovenians in Canada are more or less integrated into the Canadian society.  There are many differences among them.  However, there are also similarities. And it is those similarities that make up the Slovenian-Canadian culture. 
One of those similarities is the Slovenian cooking and baking.  Last year Slovenski Dom organized a very successful Potica Challenge.  It was obvious that Slovenians love potica.  Hence, we are planning to have another Potica Challenge again this year.   We are inviting Slovenian-Canadians who know how to make potica to enter the challenge.  We are also inviting all other Canadian-Slovenians who do not know how to bake a potica to come to the Potica Challenge and enjoy this unique Slovenian cultural experience.

test.registrant's picture

Further to Wiki as a source

Further to Wiki as a source of amusing information try a Google search on [kulturologiya] and select the Wiki link.  I was quite surprised at what cmoes up and it is very much to the point in this thread.  What is even more amusing and informative is to do a Google search on the English cognate [culturology].  All told this whole thread provides a good summary of fundamental concepts in culture and, through Wiki and culturology, in linguistics and neo-logisms and even geo-politics and how new politicians or governments spin old ideas.

A good example of

A good example of international culture is the solo play Jamski Clovek (Defending the Caveman) by Rob Becker from California, which I went to see last Friday, Feb. 6th, 2009 at Browns Line Hall.  The play was presented as part of the "Presernov Vecer"  a Slovenian cultural celebration.   It was presented by Uros Fuerst from Slovenia.  I was surprised that such a non-Slovenian play would be presented as part of a Slovenian cultural celebration.  Especially, since we Slovenians have many Slovenian plays  that would have been more appropriate for the occasion.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the play, except for the profane language which made some of the ladies near me blush. 

test.registrant's picture

It seems that my main point

It seems that my main point was missed.
It is that, sadly and all too often, "culture" is used as a basis exclusion and divisivness.
It also seems that the Wiki information was misinterpreted.  To call it an article about "world" culture is as meaningless as speaking about an certain person's habits, behaviour and other activities as "individual" culture.  With that perspective in mind, the Wiki article elaborates what makes up the concept of "culture" which is what this thread started with.  It gives many examples from around the world and through time but does not presume to define a "world" culture at all.  Beyond that it provides a historical outline of where the term came from and its different interpretations in different countries and at different times.  Originally it was not conceived of as having the connotation which started this discussion.

Looks like we are back to the

Looks like we are back to the question "What constitutes Slovenian Culture in Canada?".  I maintain that it is all those things that were mentioned in my original posting.  Habits, arts, literature, food, theater, songs, music, customs...etc.  In my next posting I developed the idea that Slovenian Potica is part of the Slovenian culture. 
Next I would like to develop the idea that  books written by Slovenians in Canada are also part of the Slovenian culture.  The main challenge facing Slovenians is that nobody knows how many books were written and published by Canadian-Slovenians.  This is a challenge that is being addressed by Slovenski Dom in Toronto.  Slovenski Dom created a "Slovenian Writers in Canada" project.  The aim of this project was to collect the titles of books writen by Slovenians in Canada and eventually to publish an annotated bibliography of those books.  To date 75 titles have been identified and work is in progress to review those books and write a short synopsis of each book.  I am asking all Slovenians to search their libraries for books written by Slovenians in Canada and please let us know of any such books.  By providing us with this information you will be contributing to the preservation of Slovenian culture and heritage in Canada. 

One book that deals with

One book that deals with Slovenian culture in Canada is the ,"History of Slovenski Dom 1960-2005".  The reader is presented with an interesting account of events which took place in the Canadian-Slovenian community during this period.  The book is bilingual English and Slovenian so that the younger generation who have not taken Slovenian language in school can read the book.   The book is well illustrated with many photographs and is a must reading for those that wish to find out  how Canadian Slovenians practice their culture.  The book is available for sale from Slovenski Dom Board members or by sending an email to  

Another bilingual (English

Another bilingual (English and Slovenian) book is titled, "From Lipa to Maple - Od Lipe do Javorja" by John Vintar.  The object of this book is to preserve the heritage and contribution made by Slovenians who immigrated to Canada and settled in Ontario in the 1920s and 1930s. These sincere, hard working and determined people left the land of the linden (lipa) and came to the land of the maple (javor) with much hope and a strong will to succeed. This book includes testimonials about their experiences and achievements in their efforts to create a better life for themselves and their children.  References are made to their arrival to Canada, government work contracts, job searches, The Great Depression, marriage and settlement, family and church, mutual support and social gatherings. Numerous photographs depict both happy and difficult times.

The book, "Journey Back to

The book, "Journey Back to The Garumna" by Anthony Ambrozic offers an etymological analysis of the tribal names, the toponymy, hydronomy, and area inscriptions of 20 Slavic (Venetic) tribes from the south of ancient Gaul by means of relevant Slovene, Old Church Slavonic, Serbo-Croation, and Russion forms.  This book was published in Toronto in 2000 by Cythera Press in hard cover.  Slovenski Dom in Toronto is currently looking for help to publish an annotated bibliography of books published by Slovenian authors in Canada.   Please email to to receive more information.

Books written by Slovenian

Books written by Slovenian authors in Canada are certainly part of the Slovenian culture and heritage and we are fortunate to have so many talented authors.  Most books are written in prose.  This is understandable since most people speak in prose unless they are in love, depressed, drunk or stoned.  However, there is another part of Slovenian literary culture and that is poetry.  So far, I have not been able to find any books of poetry written by Slovenien poets in Canada.  That is not to say that there are none, but if there are any they must be rare.   However, I have found individual poems written be Slovenians in Canada.  They are poems that speak of life in Canada as experienced by Slovenians living here.   One such poem won a Slovenski Dom literary contest some years ago. It is titled "Slovenski Dom" by Cy Prezel Jr., whose father Ciril Prezel was the President of SLovenski Dom from 1972 to 1974.   Here is the poem:
Slovenski Dom!
A great project was undertaken.
It was named Slovenski Dom!
An invitation for people to awaken,
their spirit of enterprise and freedom!
Slovenians responded generously,
with their time and work of their hands.
Because they have given continuously,
this organization still stands!
It was the year of 1959,
their dream became a reality.
Receiving help from the Divine,
it was a place of great hospitality!
It served the Slovenian community,
thanks to the many volunteers.
It provided ample opportunity,
for learning and social life with their peers.
They all cherished this wonderful Country,
The True North Strong and Free!
Together they achieved much prosperity,
and established a strong identity.
New members are always welcome,
who are democratically oriented.
Great challenges can be overcome,
if our talents and resources are united!
So I must say thank you,
to both immigrants and Canadians.
May Slovenski Dom continue,
to foster goodwill among Slovenians!
By Cy  M.  Prezel  Jr.
This year (2009) Slovenski Dom celebrates ist 50th anniversary.  Become a member of Slovenski Dom today!

Another book by a

Another book by a Slovenian-Canadian author is "SLOVENCI Misli in vprasanja" by the late Dr. Zdravko Jelincic.  This book was self-published in Toronto in 1987.  In the 143 pages there are a variety of interesting facts from Slovenian history, starting with the Veneti through to the 19th century.  The author addresses a variety of topics dealing with religious and moral beliefs, characteristics and ethics of Slovenian people, the Slovenian language in relation to Russian; as well as the problem of lost borders and migrations from the south.  This book was written in Slovenian and is a very interesting reading for anyone who is interested in Slovenian culture and heritage.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.