Slovenski etnografski muzej

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The new year masks of Bohinj - otepovci

The Bohinj villages of Stara Fužina, Studor, Srednja vas, češnjica and Jereka have preserved the custom of otepanje, that is of masked young lads making their rounds in the days preceding New Year’s Eve. The masks and characters are different in every village, but the scenario is the same; they go from door to door to wish people a Happy New Year and collect gifts: sausages, eggs, beverages, money. Every group has its harmonica player who plays for entertainment and dancing at every home. Ethnologists have been studying the custom since the 1950s. Niko Kuret called the masks of the otepovci the only Slovene manistic masks. The last decades have seen rising tensions between the traditions of the custom in the village community and wishes for changes.