Christmas traditions in Slovakia

Believe it or not, Christmas is already around the corner! The Christmas markets in downtown Bratislava are already up and people have started thinking about Christmas presents for their loved ones. If you are spending Christmas in Slovakia,  here are some hints about  Christmas traditions in Slovakia. 

In Slovakia, Christmas celebrations begin with  Advent. Many Slovaks are Roman Catholics so this is the start of the important spiritual preparations for Christmas.

During Advent there are lots of preparations to be made for Christmas. This includes cleaning the house, baking, shopping and buying the Christmas three. 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 ‘Štědrý den’ (the Generous Day). The actual evening is called ‘Štědrý večer’ (the Generous Evening) and the Christmas season is called ‘Vianoce’.

In Slovakian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Vesele Vianoce’.

Each and every region in Slovakia has different traditions when it comes to food.

West Bratislava loves to have their carp fish with some potato salad on the plate. East region like their bobalky – it is flour pasta with either cabbage or poppy seeds and it carptastes delicious! People of east Slovakia go for ribs and ham. Interesting, right?

Bathtub carp is one of several traditions tied to Christmas Eve — a day that is the centerpiece of holiday celebrations for Slovaks and some others in central Europe. It is also the day, children are told, when baby Jesus brings a Christmas tree. (This requires some elaborate subterfuge from parents, who must hide and decorate the tree behind closed doors.) Later in the day, the little ones get their gifts.

And as magically as the fully decorated Christmas tree appears, the pet carp’s life not-so-magically ends. Traditionally, the father takes the live fish from the family tub and, in most cases, slices its head off with a knife. It can be more difficult than it sounds.

Now, let’s turn our attention to other traditions. People usually go to the church for midnight service (Catholics). Evangelists go to their mass usually at 5 pm, having dinner and finally opens the Christmas gifts! Making sure the closest members of the family are together at that time. The very next day other relatives get together to enjoy and create memorable memories.

So who wouldn´t like Christmas then? Time flies really fast, especially during Christmas, the only time to sit and relax so enjoy it to your fullest. ŠŤASTNÉ A VESELÉ! – Merry Christmas in Slovak