From Fat Thursday until Ash Wednesday the streets of Cerknica traditionally host the famous carnival festivities. From 28. February till 6. March 2019 the town will once again change its name into »Butale«. This is the time when visitors can enjoy the lively atmosphere of one of the biggest Carnivals in Slovenia.

Carnival has a different theme each year (“Olympics in Butale”, “Year of the frog”, “40 bewitched” …). In 2019 the festivities wil be joined under the name “Butalska družina”, which translates into “Butale family”.



  • Thursday, 28. February – Žaganje babe (Sawing of the witch)
    from 4 PM till 5 PM

The carnival festivities will begin on the Fat Thursday with traditional »Sawing of the witch«. It is said, that the event has its origins in the past, when women needed some time to make all the culinary specialties, but children distracted them. Mothers told youngsters to go outside and see, how the witch is being sawed, so children hurried outside and ran all over the town to find the famous »sawing of the witch«. Of course, they didn’t find anything, but instead came back home in the evening very tired and disappointed. In the meantime their mothers made all the food.

The name »Sawing of the witch« remained, but actually the witch is not being sawed, so they just saw the piece of wood in half and Mayor of Cerknica symbolically transfers the authority to carnival mayor for a week.


  • Friday, 1. March – TV Čohovo
    Kulturni dom (house of culture) Cerknica – from 7 PM till 9 PM

A drama act, where “Butalci” and other carnival characters inform visitors what’s going on in Butale, what happened before and what will happen next. Of course they also discuss world problems and events, which took place in the previous year. There is also a number of funny acts, musical performances and most importantly, the big speech of the carnival Mayor.


  • Saturday, 2. March – Children’s’ Masquerade
    Cerknica sports hall – from 3 PM till 6 PM

Saturday is traditionally reserved for the youngest. Animators, magicians, musical acts and more will be in Cerknica sports hall, just to entertain a big group of children – but they aren’t regular children today – they are little Batmans, Supermans, soldiers, cowboys, princesses, cats, bears, witches and so on. In the evening there is also a Masquerade party for their parents and everyone else, who is old enough to mingle with the adult witches and “Butalci”


  • Sunday 3. March – A Carnival
    exactly around 12:32 on the streets of Cerknica

A Carnival in Cerknica (a.k.a. Butale) is well known for its great figures – Witches Uršula and Liza, Frog, Pike, Dragon, Jezerko (green “man” who lives under the water of Cerknica Lake), Hedgehog and so on. Figures were made by academic artist Milan Rot and graphic designer Martin Petrič. They measure up to 10 meters in length, are made out of foam and driven through the streets of Butale by various means of transport.


  • Shrove Tuesday, 5. March – TV Čohovo (rerun)
    Kulturni dom (house of culture) Cerknica – from 7 PM till 9 PM

Even though this is the day, when carnival should be at its finest, in Butale everything is upside down. This is the day, when inhabitants of “Butale” can visit other places and see, that their sweet home is still the best place for them. In the evening they can watch a rerun of Friday’s “TV Čohovo” in “Kulturni dom” in Cerknica – in case they didn’t understand all the jokes and they need to see them again.


  • Ash Wednesday, 6. March – the funeral
    from 4 PM till 5 PM

Every good thing must come to an end and so must the carnival. “Pust” dies, is cremated and then thrown in Cerkniščica (the stream that flows through Cerknica) to eliminate any option of him still being alive. Some enthusiasts follow him in ice cold water, festivities come to an end and the town of Butale becomes Cerknica once again.