Experience one of Radol'ca's most magical rites.
On the eve of St Gregory's Day, the iron-foundry pool in the village of Kropa and the Lipnica Stream in the village of Kamna Gorica are illuminated with candles affixed to the floating art creations of local children.
The iron-forging villages of Kropa and Kamna Gorica have preserved this age-old iron-forging custom, which is practised on the eve of St Gregory's Day. On 11 March of every year, the arrival of spring is celebrated at dusk. It has been known for centuries that St Gregory threw his lamp into the water.
The "lamps" thrown into the water here nowadays are in fact model houses, churches, iron foundries, hay-racks and other unique art creations made from paper, cardboard and wood. Candles are attached to them, either on their exterior or interior, which cast their light through colourful windows.
In Kropa, these little boats are placed on the water surface of the former lower foundry's pool. In Kamna Gorica they are floated down one of the countless water canals in the village centre. Each village puts its own spin on the festival, which is still going strong despite the passing of the centuries.
This unpretentious custom harks back to the era of manual iron forging. Before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, the name day of St Gregory (12 March) was considered the first day of spring. The spring, which brought longer days, and more light and warmth, was also welcomed by the iron forgers. The days became longer and they no longer needed artificial light at their work. Therefore, as a symbolic gesture, lamps were thrown into the water on the eve of St Gregory's Day.
Written by Kaja Beton, Febraury 2018
St. Gregory's Eve has long been one of my favourite celebrations. Making little 'boats', which resemble houses, is a pleasant way to keep my children busy in the cold late winter afternoons. Read the blog and find out how to set about making a real little 'boat' all of your own!