view the film on rtvslo.si
In Gančani by Beltinci setting up maypoles, richly decorated with paper flowers and ribbons, has been a tradition for over 90 years. The custom was introduced by four local lads who were lucky to return home safe and sound after having fought on World War I battlefields. On the 1st of May Eve that year, they secretly erected a high pole and decorated its top with birch branches. Since then, recruits who come of age that year are in charge of setting up a maypole on the Labour Day's Eve. The preparations begin months ahead, as the lads gather each Friday night in order to make enough paper decorations. On the last day of April a richly decorated pine pole or 'majosh' is carried across the village and all villagers participate in erecting the maypole, thus celebrating the boys' transition to maturity. Local boys from Gančani are very proud of their 'majosh' and say that their maypole is the most beautiful in Europe. There used to be another rite associated with that local custom – the theft of a maypole crown was a proof of someone’s courage and masculinity and only those lads who were recruited by the army counted as ‘real men’. Although military service is no longer obligatory in Slovenia, lads in the Beltinci area still decorate carriages and take a ride to the “enlistment office” like in the old days. Those boys who came of age in 2009 were born in the year Slovenia became independent.