Slovak traditions and folklore
Slovakia and traditions
Slovakia is a very rich country in folk customs and traditions, which have their specifics on the basis of individual areas that have a common background and nature. No other European country has so strong and diverse folk traditions as Slovakia.
Slovak folklore draws on rich traditions and culture. In a broader sense, it refers to the country’s life cycle of peasants, shepherds and craftsmen. From music and dance ensembles, through crafts, open-air markets and festivals, folk traditions continue to receive warm acclaim throughout the country.
Slovak crafts and procedures include lace embroidery, beekeeping, sheep breeding, ceramics and woodcarving. Segments of Slovak folklore are inherited from generation to generation, while each region retains its own features in the form of typical costumes, customs, dialect and overall style.
The influence of folk traditions is deeply rooted in the national scene.
Slovak folk music
Folk music has strong regional roots, which contributes to different sounds between groups. While music in one region relies mostly on string instruments, the other relies on wind instruments.
On the other hand, the fujara, also known as the shepherd’s whistle, is originally from the Detva region, but has been received by musicians from all over Slovakia.
Slovak folk tales
Although the Slovak language was legalized only after the 18th century, folk stories have been preserved in our country thanks to communication.
Carving, metalworking, glassmaking, embroidery, or basket knitting are part of the fair’s repertoire. Many craftsmen formed associations and sold their works.
In the region of Modra, the production of ceramics goes back to 1600, using historical patterns and specific launching techniques.
Folklore festivals organized all over Slovakia serve to present folk culture and customs of individual regions. That is why they are a great way to get to know folklore and traditions, and it gives visitors the opportunity to see dynamic professional and amateur performances by first-hand artists, as well as crafts and craftsmen.
The biggest Slovak folklore festivals take place in the towns Východná, Myjava, and Detva. During the best you can feel the folklore on every corner, the whole village, the city or even the region is absorbed by the atmosphere of the festival.
Folklore festival Východná
Eastern, village located in the area of Upper Liptov under the Tatras. The largest folklore festival in Slovakia Folk festival Východná is a tour of the best domestic and foreign folk groups and traditional folk culture.
The festival has been organized since 1953 in a large open-air theater with a view of the village always in early summer, during the first weekend of July. It takes place within the programs of the International Council of the Organization for Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (C.I.O.F.F.).
An average of 1,500 performers are welcomed each year, and the number of visitors reaches 70,000. The spectacular theater program during the 3 festival days is complemented by smaller programs, exhibitions etc. Snacks and entertainment are available everywhere.
Folklore festival Poľana in Detva
International Folklore and Traditional Folk Culture Festival – Poľana Folklore Festival is one of the most successful events of this kind in Slovakia. Since 1966, the festival has been held every year in the second week of July in the city of Detva, in the heart of Slovakia.
During these days, the whole Detva carries music, singing and a festive atmosphere, which is cared for by about 1500 performers. The basis of the programs is traditional folklore and culture of Central Slovakia, music and dance performances.
Year after year, folk groups and groups of Slovaks living abroad are presented in a program called “Krajanská Nedeľa”. Visitors can choose from many accompanying events such as church programs, pastoral cultural performances, dance school, fujara lessons, traditional folk crafts fair, wood carving, ethnographic exhibitions, fine arts, photography exhibitions, etc.
The most interesting part of the folklore festival Poľana in Detva is a series of events aimed at reviving the production of folk musical instruments, which is the only one of its kind in Slovakia. Special attention is paid to the fujara, which is one of the treasures of UNESCO.
Janošík Days in Terchova
Janošík Days is an international folklore festival and has been declared a tourist attraction of the year for two times. Regularly, in early August, takes place in Terchova in the northwest of Slovakia. Terchova is also the birthplace of Slovak national hero Juraj Jánošík.
Special exhibitions of folk art, photography and paintings are also part of the festival, as well as a festive concert and mass for representatives of folk traditions in the large church in Terchova, carriages and music groups, folk festivals and various other attractions.
The overall program is designed to meet the expectations of not only folklore lovers, but also all those who enjoy entertainment as such. The young generation, for whom various concerts of artists from all over the world are prepared, is not forgotten.
Every year about 70,000 folklore fans visit Janosik’s Days, and this number continues to grow.
Myjava International Folklore Festival
Myjava International Folklore Festival is also organized under the heading C.I.O.F.F. (World’s Largest Folklore Organization). It is an example of folk art in the region of Western Slovakia.
Since 1959 the festival has been held regularly in mid-June at the open-air theater in Myjava. The environment of western Slovakia, made up of isolated settlements, is an important ethnographic locality with its own folk culture and traditions presented even today through several folklore groups and groups.
Every year the best folklore groups and individuals from all over Slovakia present themselves here. Myjava Festival is the first open-air festival in Slovakia.
The program is usually accompanied by various events, such as demonstrations of plum distillation directly in one of the distilleries, traditional craft fairs or various festivities.
Protected geographical indication and traditional specialties guaranteed in the EU
Slovakia has registered several of its specialty foods in the EU database of original and geographical indications and several others are waiting to be registered. The protected designation of origin is registered for Zittau paprika; the protected geographical indication is registered for Skalický trdelník, sheep cheese, parenica and oštiepok, as well as several types of cheese (Tekovský salami cheese, Zázrivské korbáčiky, Oravský korbáčik, Zázrivská Vojka, Klenovecký syrec.
The qualities were also recognized by traditional specialties such as sheep’s mountain smoked cheese and sheep’s mountain lump cheese, as well as for several types of sausages (Lovecka Salami, Liptovska Salami, spekacky, Spis sausages) and Bratislava Roll.