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Slovakia

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Slovakia or the Slovak Republic (Slovak: Slovensko, Slovenská republika; both names are officially recognized), is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by Austria to the west, the Czech Republic to the northwest, Hungary to the south, Poland to the north and Ukraine to the east.


Holidays And Festivals

As a predominantly Catholic society, major Christian holidays are observed in Slovakia, along with other secular days.

  • Slovak Republic Day (Deň vzniku Slovenskej republiky), 1 January: Celebration of the Velvet Divorce and the birth of the Slovak Republic, convieniently also on New Year's Day when most people nurse hangovers. Most businesses are closed and flags will be prominently displayed.
  • Ephiphany (Zjavenie Pána), 6 January: Christian celebration of the Three Kings' arrival in Bethlehem. Shops and banks are closed.
  • Carnival (Fašiangy), between Epiphany to Ash Wednesday: Traditional Catholic festival period, with village markets, drinks, dances, balls and celebrations. Similar to Fasching in Germany and Mardi Gras in the United States. A traditional period yet not a public holiday.
  • Easter (Veľká noc), a movable feast scheduled to the lunar calendar, usually in March or April and includes Good Friday and Easter Monday. Religious Slovaks will go to mass, sometimes in traditional clothing in some villages. Throughout Slovakia, kraslice are prepared, which are egg shells adorned with ornaments and painted. Traditional food is served, including eggs, special Easter Ham, bread and horseradish. Most businesses will be closed
  • Easter Monday (Veľkonočný pondelok or Oblievačka), the day after Easter: A holiday with pagan roots, where men go door to door splashing women young and old with water for fertility and good health, and in return get copious amounts of alcohol and sweets. Water splashing in common in central and eastern Slovakia, while (slightly) whipping woman with willow sticks on their bottoms is common in the northwest. A public holiday with most businesses closed.
  • May Day (Sviatok práce), 1 May: Celebration of workers and labor rights, once an enormous affair during communism is now marked by barbeques, rest and some small socialist gatherings. Most businesses are closed.
  • Day of Victory over Fascism (Deň víťazstva nad fašizmom), 8 May: Celebration of Nazi Germany's defeat, with most businesses closed.
  • St. Cyril and Methodius Day (Sviatok svätého Cyrila a Metoda), 5 July: Celebration of the Christian missionaries' arrival in Great Moravia. A public holiday with most businesses closed.
  • Slovak National Uprising (Výročie Slovenského národného povstania), 29 August: Commemoration of the mass uprising against the Tiso regime in 1944. Most businesses are closed.
  • Constitution Day (Deň Ústavy Slovenskej republiky), 1 September: Celebration of the 1992 constitution, with most businesses and schools closed.
  • Day of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows (Sviatok Panny Márie Sedembolestnej), 15 September: Catholic day commemorating the Virgin Mary, the state's patron saint. Most businesses are closed, with the faithful attending mass.
  • Vinobranie, normally at the end of September and early October: Local celebrations of the wine harvest, where cities and towns across the republic host air markets of food, crafts and drink on different weekends.
  • All Saints Day (Sviatok všetkých svätých), 1 November: Families visit the graves of their ancestors to light candles. After sunset, cemeteries glow beautifully with candlelight. Visitors should be sure to visit a cemetery to witness this holiday. Many restaurants, malls and stores will either be closed or close earlier than usual.
  • Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy (Deň boja za slobodu a demokraciu), 17 November: Joint commemoration of the 1939 student protests against the German occupation and the 1989 overthrow of the communist Czechoslovak state, marked normally by political speeches and marches. Most businesses are closed.

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