Slovak people have a lot of customs. They have their roots in history
-people were living under the press of feudalism, they were not free. So they worked off plenty of traditions. They were their themselves and noone had power to steal them. Customes were their traesure of no gold or silver but of strength in difficult times of their living.
E.g. Women met each other at one house and were cleaning goose's feathers. As the work was passing by they were telling varios mystific stories fool of ghosts, bogeys and breathtaking situations.
Customs we can divide into two groups. Those in the first one are connected with our whole life, those in second one are connected with the year as it is passing by - they are annual ones.
I will talk about the second ones. I would start with "faąiangy." It is very old custom and it's a pity that it is getting vanished. Nowadays it is stricktly held only in villages. I personaly never have seen it but I know something about it. People are dressed in various funny costumes - the most favourite are the devil and Cathy, the old women in the bascet and the king and the qeen of the Spring can't be missing, too, because this custom welcomes the spring. The bass is burrying as a symbol of the comming out winter that deffinitly will not return. People are singing, dancing in the streets of the village and have a disco till late at night. Then the 40 -days fast starts the next day. After this fast comes Good Friday and it is begginig of the Easter. It is very old Christian custom so people visit the churches. The Good is the greatest religious festival during the year. At this time Jesus Christ was tortured, condemnated and cruicided. During the rule of the Comunist party in our country it could be only whispered about the connection between Jesus Christ and well-known Easter. But the fact is, that water, that is used, is to commemorate Pilat's sentence: "I wash my hands" or it is a sybol of water that flown out of Jesus Christ's side when it had been cut. On the other hand beating means the torturing of Jesus Christ. So well known facts about Easter: Easter Monday is funny day but only in case when you are not girl. Boys go from home to home, beat girls with planned whips and wash them with water. In the better case they use water in backet, the worse is water in bath and deffinitly the worst is water in the river. Just imagine a bath in l0 - degrees water bellow the clean ski! In the past boys received only dyed egges, than also chocolade ones and nowadays it turned into bussines. Small boys receive monay and in the evening they compare their earnings. Young boys and men receive alcohol so after l0 or l5 visites they are drunk to death. I really enjoy our familie's "Easter in easter" - I spend this time in Preąov. It is strong catholic area and so traditions are stricktly kept. Very origin one in called consecrating of the bascets. People put everything that is usually eaten during this time into their bascets and go to chutch. These bascets are full of hard-boiled eggs, egg-cheese, sausages, bread and cakes. Each small child has his own small bascet with sweet baken lamb in it. During the special liturgy the priest walks among the people and consecrate the food with water and incense. Then poeople thanks to Lord for it, go home and eat this food during the whole festival.
The next very important custom is held on 2nd November - it is All Souls Day. People visit graves to commemorate their friends, relatives - simply said - closed people. They light the candles and pray for rest in peace. It can seems as a sad time but it is not truth. People are already reconciled with death so they are remembering with love, may be with nostalgy but not with sadness. And cemetaries are so beautyful with light of so many candles that everyone go for a walk there at least.
One month later is Saint Nicolaus day. It is on 5th Noveber and each child loves it very much. They clean their shues and put them on the window-sill. If they were good during the whole year, they receive there sweets, fruits or small toys into their shoe. If they weren't, they would receive coal but it never have happend. Adults used to dress as a devil, angel and St. Nicolaus but the nicer custom - as for me - is advent callendar. It is large picture with 20 small windows and there is hidden chocolade behind each one. Children open one window a day and the last one on Christmas Eve. In the morning of this day people decorate christmas tree with candles, sweets, colour balls, various small figures, bells etc. The main meal is served in the evening and it contains whafles with honey at the beginning, than comes saur-craut sup, potato salad with fried carp or some other fish and sweets and fruit in the end. Nut is usually cut through to see its healthy kernel - it symbolises the happyness in following year. Cutting of an apple is quite similar. Our family has one special custom - me and my sister both play piano so after dinner we all together sing Cristmas carols at piano. The next day spend all families in the narrowest circle and the next day is visiting day. Christmas were celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in origine, nowadays it turned into food festival when everyone get weight and become lazy. But it's still wonderful time that totally ends on 6th January - on Three Kings Day when Christams tree's decorations are put down.