Photographer Nashalina Schrape, a native of West Berlin, traveled to the small northeastern village of Ptuj in Slovenia to document its Winter Carnival, an ancient tradition of celebrating the end of winter, established in the pre-Christian era when Europe recognised only two seasons – winter and summer.
During this ten-day festival called Kurentovanje, villagers transform themselves into Kurents: scary beings that are meant to frighten away winter. Dressed in scary masks, furry costumes and ringing cow bells, Kurents go from house to house offering blessings to each other. The streets are filled with an undeniable energy as the celebrations usher in the coming spring. Schrape’s images, vivid and dynamic, sweep us up in the exhilaration of it all, capturing not just the death of a season, but the hope for the new one.
Images © Nashalina Schrape / with permission