Traditions

Slovakia’s folklore is incredibly varied: another result of a culture that has kept close ties with the often-isolated mountainous land within which it lies. Somehow, ancient folk customs have survived in Slovakia far more vividly than in most other parts of Europe.

In this sub-section we focus on folk culture generally and what it means for Slovaks; but this is also the place for any of those Slovak traits, tendencies and quirks (modern ones too).

Here too we focus on special days within the Slovak calendar and some of the traditions practiced on these days – whether it be the whipping of girls at Easter or lighting candles to remember the dead on Dušičky (All Saints’ Day).


Posts in Traditions

  • FestivalA country where folk is the lore of culture

    Slovakia has fought long and hard to keep its traditions and customs alive and today folk song and dance are  treated as family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation.   Historically all districts and regions had their own  music, dialects, customs and costumes.  Today these are kept alive, not only within families, but are also taught ...

  • blackthorn-1621554_960_7201Plum madness of Slivovica

    One of my favourite libations is Slivovica (pronounced slee-woh-weetza). Absinthe may have a mythological, illegally glamorous reputation all over Europe – but Slivovica is rightfully seen as Slovakia’s plum madness. The best is aged for years in oak barrels; it smells like molten gold and has a fire that incinerates your taste buds. The very best ...

  • Vel'ky Rozsutec seen from the top of Chleb - image courtesy of Mike Clapham/Milan ŠaradinCapturing Malá Fatra: How A Photographer Transformed the Perception of a Slovak National Park

    Sometimes, on rare, rare occasions, you come across someone in the annals of history who utterly transformed the place in which they lived. In the Malá Fatra National Park in Northern Slovakia, that person was Milan Šaradin. The rediscovery of thousands of Šaradin’s photographs by his granddaughter Maria Clapham and her husband, Mike, prompted them ...

  • marianka4The Best Ways to Experience Christmas in Slovakia

    This is the season to be happy, after all. Dinky, mountain-backed, frequently snow-blanketed and with a propensity for lighting big crackling log fires or old-fashioned tiled stoves to warm the cockles in the cold months, Slovakia is a great place for a cosy festive getaway. Several German towns, as well as Vienna, tend to steal the ...

  • Dušičky

    November 1st is All Saint’s Day. This is usually known colloquially as Dušičky in Slovakia and it is one of the most poignant occasions in the calendar year. “Occasion” is less the word than “honouring”.  For all of this day and the preceding one, Slovaks  – just like those in several countries around the world ...

  • The entrance to the Old Town of Hainburg - image by www.englishmaninslovakia.co.ukAround Bratislava – the West: Going Over the Border to Get Good Stuff

    As you drive across the border between Slovakia and Austria at Berg you get a poignant sense of how it must have seemed, pre-1989. There’s Austria’s flat, open farmland, broken by gentle wooded hills, suddenly erupting up on the other side of the dramatic Danube-Morava river confluence into the steep forested karst of Devínsky Kobyla with starkly ...

  • Fujaro_ludado_tuta_bildoThe Fujara – and Where to Experience It!

    Nothing represents traditional Slovak culture quite so poignantly as the fujara. This huge three-holed flute has its origins in the nation’s shepherding past, when shepherds would project resonant, melancholic tones out over the valleys in which they tended their flocks as part of a system of communication between isolated farmsteads. Later, the instrument became used ...

  • Mikuláš Day! (and Some Traditional Slovak Sweets)

    On December 6th every year, every single Slovak opens presents from St Nick. A misprint? Think I’m 19 days ahead of schedule? Uh-uh. Slovakia, along with several other countries in Central Europe, celebrates Mikuláš (aka St Nicholas) Day in a far more poignant way than I was used to in England (where it gets but a ...