#HappyBetterYear travel to Slovakia

Christmas and New Year in Slovakia

Preparations for Christmas in Slovakia begin four weeks before December 24th. This is the Advent period when all Slovaks are preparing for a joyous day. Mandatory attributes of Advent are the Advent wreath (a wreath of spruce branches, into which four candles are woven; on the first Sunday, one candle is lit, on the second - two, on the third - three, and, finally, on the fourth — all four candles are lit) and the Advent calendar for children (made in the form of boxes or bags with dates, where every day, while waiting for Christmas, children find some delicacy by the date in the calendar). In churches, each of the four Advent Sundays has a specific theme, which is reflected in Sunday sermons.

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Another traditional attribute of pre-Christmas time is the Christmas markets, which open at the end of November in all major Slovak cities. Here's what you must do when you get to one of the Slovak Christmas markets:

  • try local delicacies such as loksha (potato dough pancake) with a wide selection of sweet or savory fillings, goose meat, gypsy liver (special white flour bun with chicken or pork meat and stewed onions), large potato pancakes, strudel, fried chestnuts;

  • listen to folk music;

  • buy souvenirs for friends: embroidered tablecloths, dolls in national costumes, Slovak liqueur Demenovka "Demänovka";

  • drink the best slovak beers or, if you want something more authentic, choose plum brandy or mead.

Part of the preparations for Christmas is also St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. This intermediate and very revered religious holiday in the country is especially loved by children. Throughout Slovakia, they put their previously washed and cleaned shoes in the windows. It is believed that St. Nicholas spends all night unfolding gifts - pleasant or not. In the morning, a child can find potatoes, coal, or various snacks in his shoes. The gift indicates the attitude of Nicholas to the specific behavior of the baby for a year.

In Slovakia, „Ježiško“ (little Jesus) brings gifts and at the beginning of December the children write him letters with a list of what they would like to receive as a Christmas present.

Christmas is celebrated for three days. December 24 - Christmas Eve. The traditional dishes on the Christmas table are:

  • sauerkraut cabbage soup „kapustnica“, or lentil or fish soup - it all depends on the region of Slovakia,

  • deliciously cooked carp or other fish,

  • pancakes from potato flour with different fillings,

  • honey and garlic waffles,

  • poppies, strudel, pastries,

  • punch, mulled wine, honey liqueurs

All meals on Christmas Eve should be lean, but this tradition is followed only by families with strong Christian convictions. Often food is placed on the table in two versions — for example, lean vole, with cabbage and the same — with sausage or meat. The dinner ends with the mutual presentation of gifts. In the evening, the faithful go to church services.

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Christmas brings with it many traditions. Lentil soup symbolizes wealth, the more lentils in the plate, the richer the next year will be. On Christmas Day, December 24th, a strange woman could not enter the house, that would mean misfortune. It was also not allowed to hang and dry the washed laundry, whose laundry you hang, that will be in trouble next year. On the other hand, whoever sneezed in the morning had a long life. The fish scales are hidden under the tablecloth or under each plate. During Christmas dinner, fruit is also eaten, it is especially important to cut the apple so that a star forms in the middle, this was a guarantee of health for the whole family next year.

Christmas Eve is over, but the Christmas holiday is not over. It just started its run. Slovakia is one of those European countries in which three days off are allocated for celebrations.

December 25 is the first Christmas holiday, the "Feast of God" — the day intended for the universal celebration of the birth of the Jesus. An obligatory dish in the "Feast of God" is a thick cabbage soup with sausages, pork and dried mushrooms. Almost the whole day is spent at festive tables — it is necessary to visit as many relatives as possible.

December 26 — on the second Christmas holiday, Slovaks meet with friends, and traditional Christmas entertainment and carols begin. On this day in Slovakia, Stephan (“Štefan”) name is celebrated, so the entertainment of this day is usually called "štefanske". These are usually dance evenings, concerts, theatrical performances.

And how is the New Year celebrated in Slovakia?

On New Year's Eve, Slovaks gather in a joyful company at a table at home, with friends, or in a restaurant. Another popular option is to celebrate the New Year in the mountains. The menu is different everywhere, but there are typical Slovak New Year dishes: fried carp or trout, dumplings, dumplings with feta cheese and bacon and other goodies.

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In general, it is the New Year that can be called the noisiest and most crowded holiday in Slovakia - as soon as the clock strikes 12 times, crowds of people pour out onto the streets, concerts and fireworks start on the squares.

In November and December, numerous Christmas and New Year events are held throughout Slovakia. Among the most interesting:

  • “Gingerbread Festival” in the village of Sucha nad Parnou, famous for making gingerbread for Christmas. The event also includes master classes on making gingerbread.

  • “Košice fabulous Christmas” — an event with a rich program, delicious food and drinks.

  • "Christmas Charm" in Trencin — within the framework of the event, a meeting of St. Nicholas, a Christmas market, a Christmas chant under the tree, etc.

  • “Christmas in Castle” — during the Christmas period, Bojnice, the most romantic castle in Slovakia, is decorated in a Christmas spirit and offers visitors guided festive tours of the castle.

  • “Tatra Ice Cathedral” — every year, from November to February, visitors to the High Tatras delight with a unique piece of art created by Slovak and foreign sculptors from ice. The main theme of the 2020-2021 winter season is the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in St. Petersburg - to create this masterpiece, the artists needed 1,880 blocks of ice with a total weight of over 230 tons

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