Christmas presents from Ljubljana

People can be educated in many ways. How many adults remember from school that the sex chromosomes "XX" make that a girl will be born, while "XY" will be a boy? How many parents find it difficult to explain that about flowers and bees to their children?
I will get back to that in a moment, let me first tell you how I stumbled upon the issue of popular education and what it has to do with Ljubljana. Thanks to the excellent online program "heygo", the other day I took part in a guided tour, which was called "Advent in Ljubljana".
Mateja, an equally excellent official city guide, provided the information on the tour. It started, as usual, with ordinary Christmas decorations. Everything was radiant - 20 miles of light had been used to illuminate the city, Mateja told us. The picture above shows the Prešeren Square with the famous triple bridge, which is the meeting place of the city.
Also a view up to the castle is included in the tour and I note that it is apparently blue, which is the color of Christmas here, not red as in Sweden.
I have also seen the Infinity mark, the reclining eight, as a Christmas decoration.
And here I notice some strange streaks that seem to float in the air. It becomes not clear either, when we turn into the next street. There is some kind of lamp, the closest one. It is only when Mateja explains that the streaks are sperm and it is about how life is created, that the insight dawns. It are the sperm and the egg hanging in the air here. It almost feels a bit bizarre at first, but when you then see the double spiral of the DNA chain, as well as the chromosomes XY and XX (behind the tree), you begin to sense the grand idea behind it.
The sign of Infinity belongs to the story and here the origin of life is shown - not individually, but the eternal process, how life is created. Even the symbols of male and female come a moment later and are part of it. When the Christmas lights on the street end - logically - with an embryo, it seems perfectly normal. But when the heart pulsates in red and yellow, then it's time for a slight shiver.
Though there are even more wonders in this wonderful city. Mateja says that " ljubl "is the root of the word "love". Then she reads the text of the Slovenian national anthem for us.
And already at the first line: "Žiwe naj vsi narodi" I get a slight shock. Our guide reads the English version, which has been officially translated as: "God's blessing to all nations". What an admirable country, which in its own national anthem does not emphasize itself, but cares for all other nations.
Below I show the original to the left and the English translation to the right:
Žiwe naj vsi narodi.
Ki hrepene dočakat' dan
Da koder sonce hodi
Prepir iz sveta bo pregnan.

Da rojak
Prost bo vsak
Ne vrag, le sosed bo mejak!

                God's blessing on all nations
Who long and work for that bright day,
When o'er earth's habitations
No war, no strife shall hold its sway.

Who long to see
That all men free
No more shall foes, but neighbours be!.

And it goes almost without saying, the Christmas lights on the next street also have a theme: to tie in with the starting point, where we saw the sign of Infinity, the decoration shows symbols of the cosmos. There are planets, suns and galaxies in different shapes all along the street. What a wonderful ending to a wonderful idea.
The thought behind, at least in my interpretation, is that space is also permeated with life. According to the anthem, we should live in peace even with those out there, should we ever meet.

But that is not enough. Far from it, in this enchanted city. What glows in blue, in the background in the picture above, is the Town Hall - and that is where we are headed now. Even this house radiates in the colour of Christmas, but what captivates is neither the blue colour nor the house itself. What fascinates are the figures, which have been projected against the wall. Above it is written "happy" and its equivalent in Slovenian. Our guide explains that all these deuces with all their elevations form the number 2023. And that the meaning is "Happy New Year". Though I don't know enough math to check it out.
Still I do not doubt for a moment that it is true, even if I do not understand how to produce an odd number with only deuces and minus signs.
We can go into the Town Hall and end up in the atrium, with the roof open, so that you in the old days could collect rainwater in the cistern in front of the fir tree. The decoration of the latter immediately catches the eye. They are painted milk packages, Mateja explains, in which doors and windows have been cut. This has been done by schoolchildren, who then can admire their creations in the city's Town Hall ... Wonderful!

There is more to tell about the city's Christmas trees. Apart from the largest ones, the fir trees stand in barrels with soil, so that they can grow further. "Green trees" they are called. These do not have to fear for their lives, just because Christmas is approaching, because they can be put out in ordinary soil again.
But not only that. On the fir trees that stand outside in town, people are invited to hang their own, leftover Christmas decorations. But not enough of that either. People who are poor and have to turn over the pennies, have the right to take home such balls, or whatever it may be.
I can only shake my head at all the wonderful experiences that this hour has given me.
In my next life I want to be born in Ljubljana!
Thank you Mateja, thank you heygo, thank you Ljubljana!

Copyright Bernhard Kauntz, Västerås 2022

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last update: 9.12.2022 by