The Masks of Slovenia

October 31 is Halloween in the U.S.— a day for children to dress in costumes, wear masks, and go door-to-door asking for sweet treats. Pumpkins are everywhere, and homes are decorated with witches, skeletons, spider webs and orange lights.
The popular celebration of Halloween evolved from the Christian tradition of a holy eve before the feast of All Saints Day. And in turn, the Christian tradition likely evolved from pagan harvest festivals. That history makes for fascinating research.
Halloween is also a time for masks—a time to make believe you’re someone else. For me, some of the most fascinating, intricate and scary masks are those of Slovenia, featured on the stamps shown here from 1997 (above), 2000 (left) and 2002 (below). These masks, however, are from the annual Carnival festivals which end on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which begins the Christian season of Lent. And much the same as Halloween traces its roots to ancient traditions, the Slovenia Carnival traditions of masks and costumes have ancient origins as well. Warding off evil spirits and bringing good fortune are chief among the historic purposes of the costumes.
Masks and costumes are not the only similarity between Halloween and the Slovenia Carnivals. In Slovenia, children in masks also go door to door asking for treats!
To see more Slovenia stamps, link to the Slovenia Postal Service.

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