Culture Yogi – Slovakia Traditions
Slovakia has a fascinating culture filled with folklore and intrigue that can still be seen and heard today! Here are a few fascinating quirks and Slovakia traditions about our latest ski yoga destination!
Folk Tales, Knights and Castles
The stunning landscape, vast mountains, medieval town with gothic churches and hidden castles are the perfect backdrop for myths and legends. Now, we all know that underneath each legend and myth is a tiny piece of truth to be based on! For example there is the Juraj Janosik, Slovakias own version of Robin Hood who stole from the rich to give to the poor was the original hero of many a legend! Then there is the White Woman of Levoca, Hedviga and King Spatopluk! All of these legends and more make the base for a host of annual folklore festivals and traditions.
Traditions are something Slovakians take deep pride in and some are pretty quirky! For instance, to keep fish in a bath tub before Christmas! It is tradition to eat carp for the Christmas lunch and the fish would spend up to two weeks in the bath to clean and filter them ready for eating!
The Slovakian National Day is May 1st and traditionally, the men go into the woods to find a tall tree, strip if its branches minus the few at the top. From the branches remaining they tie colourful ribbons to symbolise love, new life and good growth! It is a tradition that brings friends, families, neighbours and whole communities together.
Possibly the strangest Slovakia tradition of them all is the cold water whipping! This 9th century old tradition involves the young men of town dowsing the women in cold water believing it will make them healthier and more fertile for the year ahead! Once dowsed the women are then whipped as a gift of vitality! Understandably this isn’t done as common place today but young boys still tip buckets of cold water over girls who then give them a candy bar or a boiled egg as a thank you! My favourite tradition is close to my heart personally – the belief that tea cures most woes. In fact, visit a pharmacist in Slovakia and chances are you will be directed to the herbal tea section first.
Slovak music also has some fun traditions. There is the Fujara, a shepherd’s flute that stands as tall as the shepherd playing it! You can still hear it played in folk festivals and was deemed so unique that in 2005 it was put on the UNESCO list of masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity!
Traditional music is very distinct to the specific regions of Slovakia. One region may use wood instruments and the next solely a brass band! It’s a different musical adventure where ever you go.
Slovakian food is warming, comforting and wholesome. Lets start with understanding that almost every meal begins with soup and Slovakia does soup, very well. Some are thin, flavourful broths and others are full hearty meals in themselves. Bread, potato and cheese are staples. Think Potato dumplings covered in local cheese and crispy bacon bits, hollowed out bread cobs filled with creamy garlic soup and potato pancakes with sour cream.
We currently don’t have any retreats in Slovakia coming up but we hope to visit again soon! Check out our blog post below to on Slovakia Ski & Yoga!