Carnival Princes

Part of European Tradition of Carnival Princes

The honorable title of Carnival Prince is bestowed on an individual who has left a mark on social and cultural life, actively promoted Kurentovanje, and has contributed to preserving the heritage of Kurents and Ptuj’s rich Carnival tradition.


At the opening of Kurentovanje, the Carnival Prince receives the town key from the mayor of Ptuj on behalf of all the carnival characters, along with the power to rule through the Carnival season - until Ash Wednesday. He is the protocol master of all main carnival events, and an ambassador of Kurentovanje, the town of Ptuj and carnival events at home and abroad during the Carnival season.


Since 2003, the Carnival Prince’s insignia, clothes and guards have been selected by historian Marija Hernja Masten to represent a historical figure from his birthplace.

princa_karnevala_6 (1)

Part of European Tradition of Carnival Princes

The honorable title of Carnival Prince is bestowed on an individual who has left a mark on social and cultural life, actively promoted Kurentovanje, and has contributed to preserving the heritage of Kurents and Ptuj’s rich Carnival tradition.


At the opening of Kurentovanje, the Carnival Prince receives the town key from the mayor of Ptuj on behalf of all the carnival characters, along with the power to rule through the Carnival season - until Ash Wednesday. He is the protocol master of all main carnival events, and an ambassador of Kurentovanje, the town of Ptuj and carnival events at home and abroad during the Carnival season.


Since 2003, the Carnival Prince’s insignia, clothes and guards have been selected by historian Marija Hernja Masten to represent a historical figure from his birthplace.

BrankoBrumen-180x180

Branko Brumen,

Honorary President of the Council of Carnival Princes

The honorary president of Council of Carnival Princes FECC Ptuj, Slovenia, and general secretary of the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC) is also the mastermind behind the story of Ptuj’s Carnival Princes. He has been helping shape the story of Kurentovanje in different roles for over three decades. As the president of Kurentovanje, he has been promoting the festival locally, nationally and internationally for the past few years. In 2015, he was awarded the Medal of Merit by President of Slovenia Borut Pahor for passionately promoting Slovenian ethnographic heritage and successfully running Kurentovanje for 20 years.

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Knight Hinsko Sodinski, noble Gall,

18th Carnival Prince

Hinko Šoštarič has been a member of the Sodinci tourism society since young age, helping preserve the ethnographic heritage. Members of the society have participated in a number of carnivals at home and abroad, wearing original masks made by him and his wife. He became the prince during the pandemic, which left a mark on both years of his reign. As a result, his reign was extended by one year. He was named after the knight who lived at the ancient Sodinci castle, a fortress with judicial powers that gave the village of Sodinci its name. The prince is accompanied by a beautiful lady of Slavic roots, Noble Stanka Gall.

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Chronological overview 

princes of the carnival

Gašper I,

1st Carnival Prince Jože Gašperšič

The first Carnival Prince of Kurentovanje, who started the successful story of Princes in Ptuj, was crowned on St. Martin’s Day in 1999. During his reign, he defined the Prince’s duties, and started the tradition of handing over the town key, symbolizing the transfer of power. He introduced Kurents to the global public with members of the Ptuj SKI Kurent club. He and his band of clowns in a Trabant are an indispensable part of the Carnival parade. He still serves as the President of Council of Carnival Princes.

Matevž Zoki II,

2nd Carnival Prince Zvonko Križaj

He chose his grandfather’s name Matevž, and added his nickname Zoki. Every year as a little boy, he eagerly awaited the start of Kurentovanje and for the midnight after Candlemas to strike, so he could don the bells. Matevž Zoki’s childhood memories also inspired the idea of the Kurent’s Jump - the symbolic start of Kurentovanje, which is held at his homestead in Budina pri Ptuju every year after Candlemas. He also manages the Kurent museum of traditional Carnival characters in his hometown.

Don Zlatko III,

3rd Carnival Prince Zlatko Gajšek

The third Carnival Prince of Ptuj has been handing down the rich ethnographic traditions of Haloze to younger generations as Korant in a troupe of ploughmen. He is the first prince coming from outside the Ptuj municipality. He is dedicated to preserving the rituals of ploughmen’s door-to-door rounds, and the burial of Carnival in his local environment.

Noble Reich Man,

4th Carnival Prince Ivo Rajh

Ivo Rajh from Lančji dvor was the first prince to assume a name of a local historical figure. Simon Moscon was the last owner of the village of Lancova Vas and the Lančji Dvor manor in the second half of the 17th century. His background was explored and described by the renowned historian from Ptuj, Marija Hernja Masten. Since Noble Moschkon Rajh’s reign, each Carnival Prince has been given a title, clothes, and crest of a historical figure that left their mark in the prince’s place of origin.

Cajnko Friderik V,

5th Carnival Prince Branko Cajnko

The fifth Prince of the Ptuj Carnival is the long-time president of the Koranti Poetovio Ptuj society. The prince represents Lord Friedrich II of Ptuj, an important member of the family of Lords of Ptuj, who took their name from the town of Ptuj in the Middle Ages. His clothes are modelled on the clothing of German knights from the late 18th century. During his reign, he started the tradition of princes meeting at the Sima bar on Prešernova ulica, which turns into a princes’ fortress for the occasion.

Noble Holonian VI,

6th Carnival Prince Marjan Cajnko

The prince represents a member of the Medieval noble family of Hollnegk, who owned the Purgstall mansion in Rogoznica. To honor the milling tradition of the estate, his subject miller Matej plays the main role in the prince’s entourage. Marjan Cajnko is a long-time member of the Rogoznica cultural society, whose Koranti section is the oldest organized group of Kurents in the Ptuj area according to records. During his reign, the Council of Carnival Princes society was established.

Learn more: www.kdrogoznica.si

Klinc Hauptmann Spuhljanski,

7th Carnival Prince Marko Klinc

Renowned upholsterer from Spuhlja pri Ptuju learned the trade and tradition of making Kurent costumes from his father, which is reflected in his crest that contains Kurent’s demonic mask. His character was inspired by a medieval commander of the marksmen’s guildhall in Spuhlja. The prince has been attending Carnival and medieval festivals with his guards and serfs from Spuhlja since the start of his reign. He is one of the biggest ambassadors of Kurentovanje. His KDFD Korant Spuhlja society holds the oldest fair with Kurent’s gear.

Learn more: www.korant-spuhlja.com

Slavko noble Kacherl,

8th Carnival Prince Slavko Kolar

Slavko Kolar is a co-founder of the Ježevka ethnographic society that is headquartered in an old vinedresser’s house in Mestni Vrh. During his reign, he actively advocated for Shrove Tuesday to become a school holiday. He was named after Žiga Ivan Kacherl, a regional master of provisions, who owned the Kacherl mansion between the villages of Rabelčja Vas and Grajena. He wears extravagant clothes of a 17th century nobleman. He is the first Carnival Prince who served accompanied by his wife.

Majer Cirkovški,

9th Carnival Prince Miran Urih

Miran Urih is an active member of the Cirkovce cultural society, which has been representing the ethnographic character of log-haulers. He is a member of the band called Pepi Krulet, which has become the official band of the Council of Carnival Princes. He is named after a rich civil servant from the late 18th century, who owned the women’s Dominican monastery in Studenice. His entourage includes the founders and donors of the Studenice monastery, Zofija Rogaška and her sister Rikarda. His reign was marked by extreme shortness of the Carnival season, with only 72 hours between Candlemas and Ash Wednesday. He ended his reign by presenting other princes with linden trees as national symbols, which the princes planted in their gardens.

Vegan Turniški,

10th Carnival Prince Stanko Vegan

Stanko Vegan is a vital contributor to the ethnographic and carnival events of Kurentovanje, where he has been presenting original carnival masks with his colleagues from the KTD Klopotec Soviče-Dravci society. He especially likes performing as the old woman carrying her man. He was named after Janez Maximillian, Count of Thurn and Valsassina, who built the Turnišče castle and owned estates between the Dravsko Polje plain and Haloze hills. He is accompanied by his mother, Countess Suzana Elizabeta Thurn. He has been organizing the traditional princes’ walk with torches since 2009.

Knight Senčar, noble Bernard Ptujski,

11th Carnival Prince Milan Senčar

The 11th Carnival Prince, who has been a Kurent since young age, chose: “I rule wisely, I do good,” as his motto. He also has his anthem. He was not accompanied by guards, but by a council of knights instead. He reigned in the year when Kurentovanje was held for the 50th time. He represents Lord Bernhard of Ptuj, a great patron of the arts and philanthropist, who is best known for commissioning the construction of the Basilica of the Mantled Virgin Mary the Protector at Ptujska Gora. He was a member of the family of Lords of Ptuj, who ruled Ptuj and its surroundings for ten generations between the 12th and 15th centuries.

Noble Baron Jakob Breuner Markovski,

12th Carnival Prince Janez Golc

Janez Golc comes from Markovci pri Ptuju, where the oldest written account of Kurents was created. He is a long-time member of the Anton Jože Štrafela Markovci folklore society, where he is involved as a folk dancer, spearman and Kurent. He represents Jakob Breuner, owner of estates near Ptuj, including the village of Markovci. Noble Baron Jakob Breuner of Markovci and his entourage have been making appearances at the medieval games. During Kurentovanje, he makes commemorative coins in his mint. He chose Muretinci castle as his residence, and holds medieval camps and baroque dinners there every summer.

Noble Yuri Oprossnitzer,

13th Carnival Prince Vlado Hvalec

Vlado Hvalec has dedicated his life to rich ethnographic and cultural traditions and heritage. He was named after a 16th century castle commander and governor of Ptuj. A tombstone with his name and an inscription praising his military excellence is embedded in the wall of St. George’s Church in Ptuj. The prince’s garb reflects the wealth of the army commander. He has traditionally been attending the Ptuj promenade with his entourage of Lords of Ptuj. During his reign, Ptuj shared the title of the European Capital of Culture as a partner town. He was involved in securing the entry of Kurents’ door-to-door rounds on Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as the president of the Association of Kurent Societies.

Vitez Dornavski,

14th Carnival Prince Miroslav Slodnjak

Miroslav Slodnjak was the first prince to carry the scepter for two years. He is a member of the Cigani Dornava ethnographic society, which always contributes its cheerful disposition, dance and set to the folk and carnival parades. His character was inspired by the historical figure of the Knight of Dornava. He used the Dornava Castle as his residence during his reign. His costume is modelled on the clothes of a wealthy knight from the late 16th century. He is accompanied by Noble Lady Ana of Dornava.

Bertold Draneški,

15th Carnival Prince Rajko Jurgec

Rajko Jurgec has been actively involved in the work of the Korenti society from Pobrežje since its beginnings. As a teacher, he has been passing on Carnival customs and traditions to new generations. His character was inspired by the famous Lords of Treun, specifically Bertold of Treun, a 13th century court marshal. The prince is accompanied by his lady, Noble Jožefa of Treun.

Noble Janez Maksimilijan Gregorič,

16th Carnival Prince Aleš Goričan

In addition to pursuing his calling as a Kurent, Aleš Goričan is also irreplaceable in his role as the Roman general Marcus Antonius Primus. He was named after Noble Janez Maksimilijan Gregorič, who managed Szekely’s estates and owned a few small castles in the Pesnica Valley and Slovenske Gorice in the 17th century. His insignia contains an image of Kurent. The prince is accompanied by his lady, Noble Ana Gregorič. He is the youngest prince in the history of the carnival.

Baron Jakob Zekel Videmski,

17th Carnival Prince Darko Cafuta

Darko Cafuta turned out to be an excellent promoter of the Carnival tradition as the prince. He attended not only the events of the 60th Kurentovanje, but also a number of other carnivals in Slovenia and abroad. He represents the feudal lord of Videm, Baron Jakob Zekel, who owned the Haloze estate with the seat in St. Vid. His costume was inspired by the late 16th century fashion.

Learn more: www.koranti-demoni.si

The emergence of the institute
Prince of Carnival

Within the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC), which brings together more than 550 cities and carnival organizers in 46 national associations, the figure prince of the carnival an important part of the tradition of carnival events and protocol. Ptuj and Slovenia have been members of the FECC since 1991. FECC President Henry van der Kroon has been urging Kurent leader Branko Brumn for several years to include Ptuj and Slovenia in making this traditional image of European carnival cities their biggest carnival.

In the first strategic turning point of the Kurentovanje concept in 1994, when an eleven-day event and a carnival hall were introduced, the decision to place the prince of the carnival had not yet been made, due to the awareness that the tradition of nine indigenous traditional carnival characters of our environment, with the Kurent-Korant at the forefront.

The new concept was upgraded in 1998 with the Meeting of Traditional Carnival Characters and Masks of Slovenia at the opening ceremony of Kurentovanje. In Ptuj, the function of the carnival prince was introduced in 1999 for the 2000 carnival year.

In designing the idea, the basic model of carnival princes in the cities and countries of the FECC was used, which was upgraded with a noble carnival tradition and the carnival spirit of our city and environment. If in European cities, where this function is extremely honorable, rich and successful citizens who feel like carnivals and are willing to participate in the organization as major financial sponsors and / or donors are mostly named Carnival Prince, the decision has been made in Ptuj to Honorary members of cultural and ethnographic societies, who actively participated in the organization and presentation of Kurentovanje at home and abroad, and above all preserve and nurture one of the traditional carnival characters of our environment.

The princes of the carnival were initially appointed by the director and organizing committee of Kurentovanje for a one-year term. Since the establishment of the Council of Carnival Princes in 2008, he has been appointed on the basis of a public call in agreement with the mayor and head of Kurentovanje. Since 2013, the prince has received a two-year term. The placement is on November 11, at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., as Martin's Day is considered autumn desert oz. small carnival, the beginning of the winter carnival.

On St. Martin's Day in 1999, Jože Gašperšič from Ptuj was appointed the 1st Prince of the Carnival in Ptuj for the 2000 Carnival Year.

The emergence of the institute
Prince of Carnival

Within the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC), which brings together more than 550 cities and carnival organizers in 46 national associations, the figure prince of the carnival an important part of the tradition of carnival events and protocol. Ptuj and Slovenia have been members of the FECC since 1991. FECC President Henry van der Kroon has been urging Kurent leader Branko Brumn for several years to include Ptuj and Slovenia in making this traditional image of European carnival cities their biggest carnival.

In the first strategic turning point of the Kurentovanje concept in 1994, when an eleven-day event and a carnival hall were introduced, the decision to place the prince of the carnival had not yet been made, due to the awareness that the tradition of nine indigenous traditional carnival characters of our environment, with the Kurent-Korant at the forefront.

The new concept was upgraded in 1998 with the Meeting of Traditional Carnival Characters and Masks of Slovenia at the opening ceremony of Kurentovanje. In Ptuj, the function of the carnival prince was introduced in 1999 for the 2000 carnival year.

In designing the idea, the basic model of carnival princes in the cities and countries of the FECC was used, which was upgraded with a noble carnival tradition and the carnival spirit of our city and environment. If in European cities, where this function is extremely honorable, rich and successful citizens who feel like carnivals and are willing to participate in the organization as major financial sponsors and / or donors are mostly named Carnival Prince, the decision has been made in Ptuj to Honorary members of cultural and ethnographic societies, who actively participated in the organization and presentation of Kurentovanje at home and abroad, and above all preserve and nurture one of the traditional carnival characters of our environment.

The princes of the carnival were initially appointed by the director and organizing committee of Kurentovanje for a one-year term. Since the establishment of the Council of Carnival Princes in 2008, he has been appointed on the basis of a public call in agreement with the mayor and head of Kurentovanje. Since 2013, the prince has received a two-year term. The placement is on November 11, at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., as Martin's Day is considered autumn desert oz. small carnival, the beginning of the winter carnival.

On St. Martin's Day in 1999, Jože Gašperšič from Ptuj was appointed the 1st Prince of the Carnival in Ptuj for the 2000 Carnival Year.