Tonight, 30th of April, every, even the smallest village will light a bonfire.
First, the so-called “Kres”, a bonfire, was fired on the Kres night, 23rd of June. Today, we most commonly light it before 1st of May, an international Labour’s Day.
Bonfire in Slovenia is both connected with the celebration of something and as signals of the threatening danger of invaders.
Especially were they used in times of Ottoman empire. People would send messages about converging Turk army in the safety of the night when there would be fewer chances to be spotted by enemies, and when the fire would be more notable by other Slovenians.
It is also used, as mentioned, as a part of the celebration. “Kresna noč”, or Night of a “Kres” is a feast when the fire is lighted to honor the following warmest period of the year when days are being longer than usual thus allowing peasants to work more and provide more for themselves and their family.
Bonfires, in general, in Slovenia, even before Christianity came, and later Ottomans were always connected with fire. When people wanted to help the sun to shine harder and stronger, they’d help it by lightning old, unneeded woods. In connection with that, spring bonfire can easily be connected with spring cleaning of fields and gardens.
The bonfires that are about to be lighted tonight have little to do with sun and nature. As written, in many historical periods Slovene people have tried to alarm and signal injustices and danger among them – one of the way to point that out were also Bonfires.
So, as bonfires in times of Ottoman empires, bonfires before the national labor day have this alarming-signaling meaning.
Bonfires tonight are some kind of visual warning which should remind us of working rights.
Have fun while we in Slovenia go and light some fire.