Presentation on theme: "In Slovakia, Christmas celebrations begin with Advent. Many Slovaks are Roman Catholics so this is the start of the important spiritual preparations for."— Presentation transcript:
In Slovakia, Christmas celebrations begin with Advent. Many Slovaks are Roman Catholics so this is the start of the important spiritual preparations for Christmas. Slovaks also celebrate St.Nicholas´ day on the 6th December. In Slovakia he is known as sv. Mikuláš. He comes in the evening of the 5th December and gives presents to good children. He also brings along the Devil who rings the chains and threatens bad children! If he can't appear in person, he leaves small presents (such as dried fruits, chocolate and sweets) in the children's shoe.
In Advent there are lots of preparations to be made for Christmas. The include cleaning the house, baking, shopping and buying the Christmas tree. Carps are also sold on the streets from big tanks (carp is eaten in the main Christmas meal). Christmas Eve is the most important day during Christmas for Slovaks. It is called 'Stedry den' (the Generous Day). The actual evening is called 'Stedry vecer' (the Generous Evening) and the Christmas season is called 'Vianoce'. In Slovakian Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Vesele Vianoce'. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.
On Christmas Eve morning the carp is killed and gutted (or some other kind of fish is taken out of the freezer!). The Christmas Tree is brought to house, fixed on the stand and then decorated with coloured lights, glass balls, wooden decorations and finished off with the silver threads.
During the day the supper is cooked. It used to be the custom to fast (not to eat anything) all through Christmas Eve. This was a direction given by the Catholic Church. It was said that if you manage to get by without food for the whole day, you will see a little golden pig in the evening (after the Midnight Mass service)!
Gifts are brought to children by the Baby Jesus. Family gifts they are put under the Christmas Tree. A common tradition is that the children have to leave the room when the presents are being brought by Jesus. When they are there a bell is rung. The children then run to the Christmas Tree to try and see the Baby Jesus but they always narrowly miss him! Then the present are opened. Christmas carols are sung or played, often Silent Night, then the supper is served.
The main Christmas supper varies between regions and families. It normally has lots of courses including a fish dish and 'Kapustnica'. Kapustnica is a thick cabbage soup with sausage, meat, dried mushrooms and cream. Every family has its own recipe. Some recipes include ingredients that might seem unusual such as dried plums and apples. Then a variety of desserts is served, usually cookies (vanilla crescent being the very popular), bars and special thin waffles with honey.
After supper people might visit the close family or neighbours and give small gifts. Then many people will go to a Midnight Mass Service. This is the busiest Church service of the year. In Slovakia there are many regional variations of the Christmas Eve celebrations. Some are local folk custom and rituals, that date back very many years.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day (26th) are much quieter and days of rest. People might go to Holy Mass Service and visit their family on Christmas Day. Families with children like to go to church and watch 'Betlehems' (crib scenes) which are displayed in almost every church. Some of them of them are mechanical!crib scenes