Slovenski etnografski muzej

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The burial of Carnival in socialism and interpretations of the authorities

The research of the burial of Carnival in Kamnik and its environs, with special emphasis on the post-war period, explores the memories and ideas of the workers in the Kamnik factories and the inhabitants of the Tuhinj Valley, who were socially most active and conspicuous in the socialist period. In the research of everyday life in Kamnik and its wider environs, where many questions referred to the folk song heritage and practices, this part of the area had indeed remained in the background. The burial of Carnival in Kamnik as a case study revealed a completely different image from the one obtained when superficially meeting with it, especially when faced with evaluations based on ideological opinions. The latter interpretation explained the burial of Carnival as an event aimed at ridiculing the Church and instigated by the Communist Party, i.e. as a faked tradition. The research however showed that the burial of Carnival was staged in the town already before the Second World War, and that it was also traditional in some places in the surrounding countryside. After the Second World War, the burial as the conclusion of the Carnival events obtained a special place and was organised by the workers of the Kamnik factories. In the factories Ash Wednesday meant that Carnival was buried by "driving a board", something the workers were familiar with from pre-war and post-war practices in the villages, and the critical point was aimed at the female employees in the administration. In these processions someone was usually dressed as a priest, but most people did not consider it a key role or a disturbing inclusion. "Driving a board" was interpreted by some people as folklore. The burial of Carnival was thus a recognisable workers' ritual practice after the Second World War, and it was all the more important because the new regime considered it ideologically harmless, while at the same time it enabled people to vent criticism, though at a very understated level. Reducing the social need for criticism in this way, which increased the role of workers' self-management, the changed attitude to marriage and unmarried couples, and the options for entertainment provided by the more sumptuous celebrations of Women's Day were the main factors that led to abandoning the ritual in the factories, while the burial of Carnival in the gunpowder factory gradually expanded into a Carnival event in the town centre. Following this change, the burial of Carnival was adopted by the villagers of the Tuhinj Valley in the late 1960s. With this transfer the event saw new transformations and new interpretations. The transfer of the burial of Carnival from the villages to the factories, and from the factories to the town streets, reflected its adaptation to the needs of the community, and simultaneously drew attention to the power relationship and its changing. The burial of Carnival in Kamnik and its different interpretations thus revealed developments in post-war Kamnik, deriving from the general social changes after the war, including ideological changes and the changing relationship between the town and the countryside. Analysing the different interpretations of the burial of Carnival in Kamnik revealed dividing lines between the town and villages, and others between the different social groups; however, more than the dividing lines between different ideologies, the essential differences were between the diverse personal experiences of people, related to their opinion of the past and ideologies. This revealed not only a different image of the ritual practice of burying Carnival, but also revealed life practices and a mentality I was not familiar with, but which marked life in the factories after the Second World War, and different opinions about the Tuhinj Valley during the Second World War and after it.