Slovak Folklore and Traditions
Slovakia is a country with rich cultural traditions and customs. Out folklore is very distinctive and interesting. Slovaks are very proud to have such traditions and they pass their folk songs, music and dance from generation to generation. There are many folk artistic groups keeping and representing these traditions. The most famous are: SĽUK and Lúčnica in Bratislava and Šarišan in Prešov.
Orava, Liptov and other regions situated on the North together with the region lying around Zemplín on the East are the most important regions in keeping the folk customs and traditions.
In the past, every district used to have not only its typical folk costumes but also its own dialect and customs.
Many Slovak folk songs are ideal for dancing for being so rhythmical, swift and amusing. There can be also found some songs that are quite sad, but despite that, they are beautiful. They narrate about love among the people, their happiness and disappointments, natural beauties and love to the native land.
You can hear them not only at folk festivals but they are also taught at schools, so the people won’t forget their national cultural heritage.
Representation of our folklore, as the folk music or the dance, can be seen on regular folk festivals thorough Slovakia or abroad.
An annual folk festival that takes place below the Poľana Mountain is well known not only in Slovakia, but also abroad. It is an international festival of the folk music, dance and songs organized not only for Slovaks living in homeland but also for those living abroad. The festival takes place in an amphitheatre in Detva and it is connected with a fair where are sold different traditional handicraft products.
Podroháč Folk Festival takes place in Museum of Orava Village Zuberec. The festival is organized together with a traditional handicraft fair.
Museum of the Slovak Village in Martin annually organizes a celebration of the harvest home where are represented traditional ways of the harvest collecting and its further manual processing.
An important countrywide cultural event takes place during the summer in Východná. It is an international folk festival on which everybody can discover beauties of the traditional folk culture, handicrafts, songs, music, dance and customs. It ranges among the most interesting and important folk festivals in Slovakia.
Folk festivals are usually held from Friday till Sunday in July or generally during the summer season.
Traditional Slovak Handicraft
An annual traditional handicraft fair is held also in Nitra. Slovaks have a long tradition in manufacturing handicraft products. They have always been great: woodcutters, ceramists, potters, tinkers, weavers, blacksmiths and makers of fujary (fujara – a typical musical instrument of Slovak shepherds – wooden long pipe tall as a man), cat-o´- nine -tails, wicker products, bobbin and point laces, embroideries, jewellery, leather products and products from the dry corn husks.
Traditional Slovak villages were embellished with decorated wooden houses. Open- air museums even today offer the possibility to see a traditional Slovak wooden village. Visitors can have a look inside the wooden houses and imagine our ancestors´ everyday lives.
The villages are concentrated in northern Slovakia, as these regions have been the cradle of the Slovak folklore, traditions and customs. Many traditions are kept until today. You can see them mostly in the mountain settlements and villages in the Liptov and Orava regions and in their neighbourhood.
One nice tradition that has been maintained on the whole Slovak territory is making and decorating home-made gingerbreads. They form an essential part of every Christmas table. The way of making them, necessary ingredients as well as their shape and manner of decorating are different according to the traditions typical for the region.
Roma People and their Culture
There live about 90,000 of citizens registered to have Romani nationality in Slovakia. Some speak Romani/Gypsy language. They have their own traditions and culture. Very often they have natural musical talent. Usually they are good singers, dancers and they can play on musical instruments.
Roma people have their special type of the music and dance, they have their own folklore. Typical musical instruments are for example cymbalo and violin. Several famous artists performing on the national scene come from the Roma people.
Their culture is characteristic by specially rhythmical and dynamic music and dancing. Their costumes are very colourful and usually they are embellished by different scarves and jewellery.
There are few Roma groups and singers that publish their music on CDs. As their music is full of fun and energy, it is quite popular. Except traditional folk festivals there are also organized Roma folk festivals. A Museum of the Romani culture can be found in Martin.