written by Radovljica Tourism, December 2018
In December Radovljica doesn't change into an illuminated galaxy and nor does it abound with kilometres of lights. Instead it boasts unique natural and handmade decorations made out of greenery, red hearts and a fairytale-like Christmas tree.
Although a small town, Radovljica's modest size hides a wealth of exceptional stories. We are proud of them and it is these stories that provide inspiration for the festive December decoration of the old town centre. In addition to decorations made of natural greenery, the main theme of the town's decorations has become Lectar hearts, which in Radovljica have a tradition dating back over 250 years. Perhaps it isn't even necessary to go into further detail about the symbolism of Lectar hearts, but nevertheless we will briefly. The hearts were (and still are) the most common of the products made from coloured honey dough. The gift of a heart is a traditional token of affection, and they are also gifted among friends and family. Lectar hearts, which are still made in the traditional way at the Lectar Honeybread Workshop and Museum in Radovljica, are decorated with a friendly or loving message. In place of a written message, mirrors are often affixed to the hearts which boys give to their girlfriends. The mirrors convey the message that the way a girl's face is reflected in the mirror is the way her image is reflected in the boy's heart.
Traditional love gifts, Lectar hearts from Radovljica, photo: Cveto Sonc
The red hearts perfectly complement the natural greenery from which garlands and wreaths are made. This year, under the mentorship of the florist Sabina Šegula, volunteers wove 100 metres of braids and made 13 wreaths. The unique and natural decorations give the town a fairytale-like appearance, not only in the evening when the festive lights sparkle, but also during the day.
Breads and wreaths are made from natural material. Photo: Luka Vidic
During a walk through Radovljica in festive December, be sure not to miss a visit to the Radovljica Mansion, where a really special Christmas tree can be found in its entrance hall. The snow-white fir tree is decorated over seven levels with ceramic models of the houses in Linhart Square, which were made by the local ceramist Urban Magušar. It is decorated with 1,000 lights, 100 red baubles and a snowy landscape.
Radovljica's fairytale-like Christmas tree; idea: Sabina Šegula, photo: Luka Vidic
The organiser of the decoration of Radovljca is the Radovljica Public Institute for Tourism and Culture; the project leader is Natalija Černe. The mentor and designer of the decorations is the florist Sabina Šegula, who every year is also responsible for the decoration of St. Peter's church in the Vatican. For several consecutive days students of the Radovljica College of Hospitality and Tourism, together with volunteers from the Lesce Horticultural Association and the Radovljica School of Health group, wove braids and wreaths under the watchful eye of the mentor florist. The decoration of the old town centre would also not be possible without the Municipality of Radovljica, which finances the project, Matjaž Zalokar from Komunala Radovljica, which provides the fir tree, and Jonas Sotler, who every year pieces together the greenery of the fir tree and helps in affixing the lights and garlands on the portals of the buildings in the old town centre.
Students of the Radovljica College of Hospitality and Tourism, photo: Luka Vidic
And now, getting back to Lectar hearts... their shape symbolises love whilst their red colour is a sign of passion. In December we wish you a lot of love, and, in the coming year, plenty of passion; passion for life and for the things that you do.