Every 8 February is Prešeren Day, also called “Slovenian Cultural Day”. The day is a time set aside to celebrate all that makes Slovenians Slovenian, but the actual name and date were chosen to commemorate the memory and death-day of famed Slovenian poet France Prešeren.
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Prešeren Day was first made a Slovenian holiday in 1944, but it didn’t become an off-work day until 1991. Some also keep the birthday of Prešeren as a kind of holiday, but that doesn’t have any official status.
Prešeren Day remembers the oppression of Slovenia’s culture, in particular its authors, poets, and artists, during the Nazi occupation. Due to the huge influence of and appreciation for France Prešeren, this day of cultural celebration was centred around him.
On and around Prešeren Day, there are an abundance of cultural exhibits, events, and educational presentations. School children frequently go on field trips to Slovenian art museums and other places where they can learn about France Prešeren and about Slovenia’s history and heritage in general.
Also on Prešeren Day, various awards are given out to Slovenian artists, normally to only one or two per year. These awards are very prestigious and have been given out continually since 1947.
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