Sunday, August 7, 2022

Festivals & Holidays in Slovakia

EuropeSlovakiaFestivals & Holidays in Slovakia

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Slovakia is a mainly Catholic country, thus major Christian holidays, as well as certain secular festivals, are celebrated. Unless otherwise noted, these are public holidays, and banks, as well as most facilities and businesses, will be closed:

  • Slovak Republic Day – 1 January – Because Czechoslovakia was divided on January 1st, New Year’s Day is a national holiday. It is often observed by sleeping till noon.
  • Ephiphany – 6 January – The arrival of the Three Magi in Bethlehem is commemorated. Banks and shops are closed.
  • Mardi Gras period (‘Fasiangy’) – This is a festival season, not a national holiday. Some towns may host a traditional market with food and beverages, and there may be a masquerade parade through the city, as well as many balls, dances, and carnivals. From January 6 until Ash Wednesday (February or March).
  • Easter – The dates for March/April are determined by the lunar calendar. Easter Monday and Good Friday are both national holidays. Easter is associated with a variety of customs. Traditional Easter fare includes eggs and special Easter ham, as well as bread and horseradish.
  • International Labour Day – 1 May – Not working is a way to celebrate this.
  • Day of Victory over Fascism – 8 May – In Europe, the conclusion of WWII is commemorated.
  • International Children’s Day – 1 June – Although it is not a national holiday, children may be excused from school and different activities will be planned for them, as well as goodies.
  • St. Cyril and Methodius Day – 5 July- The arrival of the great Christian missionaries in Slovakia is celebrated on this day. They translated the Gospels into the slavic language used at the time, created a new alphabet to express slavic unique sounds, and translated liturgical materials (such as the Missal and the Psalms), allowing the slavic tongue to become Rome’s fourth liturgical language (after hebrew, greek and latin). In addition, St. Cyril composed the first poem in the slavic language, Proglas, emphasizing the necessity of a written language for every country.
  • Slovak National Uprising Memorial Day – 29 August – Holiday commemorating the WWII uprising against the Nazis.
  • Constitution Day – 1 September – Children like this one since school begins one day later.
  • Day of Blessed Virgin Mary – 15 September – Slovakia’s patron saint.
  • Vinobranie This is not a national holiday, but rather a wine harvest celebration celebrated in wine-producing areas throughout October. Cities collaborate, so it is hosted on different weekends in various locations, and you may visit many. This comprises open-air marketplaces that offer street food, beverages (particularly young wine), and different handicrafts.
  • All Saints Day – 1 November – This is a day to commemorate those who have died. Halloween is not observed in Slovakia, despite the fact that it is a significant religious festival. All stores are closed, and many people will visit graves to burn candles in memory of their loved ones.
  • Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day – 17 November – Commemorates the student protest that led to the demise of Communism.
  • St Nicolaus’ Day – 6 December – This is not a national holiday, but it is considered the commencement of the Christmas season. St. Nicholaus traditionally places candy (if the kid was nice) or coal/onion (if the youngster misbehaved that year) in their shoe overnight (surprisingly enough, most children get sweets, not onion). Celebrations are conducted in towns, with someone costumed as St nicolaus (like Santa Claus) and his assistants angels/devils distributing sweets to throngs of excited children. Christmas markets open, and the lights are switched on.
  • Feast of St Lucy – 13 December – Although it is not a national holiday, numerous customs are associated with this day, which differ by area. For example, if you are a female, you may take 13 pieces of paper, leave one blank, and put the names of 12 guys on the others. One gets burnt every day until Christmas Eve, leaving just your future husband’s name (blank = single forever).
  • Christmas – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (December 24–26) are all national holidays. Christmas is primarily celebrated in Slovakia on Christmas Eve, when a traditional family meal is conducted, followed by the opening of gifts. Because Christmas Eve is a fast in the Christian calendar, no meat is eaten on that day. The traditional meal begins with a thin wafer accompanied by garlic (for health) and honey (for happiness and properity). This is followed by a soup (mushroom or cabbage soup) and a main course of fried carp with an unique potato salad. Many other types of Christmas cakes (such as gingerbread) are also consumed. Traditions, on the other hand, vary.
  • Silvester – 31 December – New Year’s Eve is not a national holiday, although it is extensively observed, mostly via partying. At midnight, individuals raise a drink of champagne to celebrate the New Year. Many cities will have a New Year’s Eve fireworks show. There are a lot of fireworks and intoxicated individuals.

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