Hey. Christmas is always associated with traditions and I guess you guys might not be familiar with Slovak Christmas traditions.
It’s so much different than the US, UK, or other Christmases I saw on Tv. The traditions differ in different parts of Slovakia and families as well. I’m gonna introduce you to my family’s eastern Slovak Christmas day.
We have Christmas dinner and open gifts on 24 December. December 25 is just for chilling.
The morning usually starts later on as we all get to sleep late. We are not supposed to eat at all till dinner time. Only one small portion in the morning. This fast does not apply to kids of course.
The meaning behind this feast is to “see the golden pig” = To appreciate the big dinner more.
Around lunch, we all get help out in the kitchen with the preparation of traditional foods. Basically, the whole day goes like this – just chilling, watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas carols, and cooking.
At 6 o’clock when the church bells start to ring all over the town, we all start our Christmas dinner. It’s a tradition that we all dress up nicely and dine by only candle lights and Christmas tree lights that we get to decorate earlier that day.
Here is how Slovak Christmas dinner in our family goes on in specific order:
- We all wash up with the money. We put 2 euro coin into a bowl with water and every family member starting from oldest to youngest gets to wash hands and face with the coin. It’s supposed to bring money and fortune for next year.
- We put that coin under the tablecloth for the dinner and then we give that coin to church the next day.
- We pray before dinner. Then we all get to our knees and pray for a while. Blessing the food we’re about to consume and we’re ready to start eating.
- We sit around the table and no one but the mom of the family is allowed to get up from the table – otherwise, it brings bad luck to the family.
- Mum firstly dip her pinky finger into honey and make a cross on our forehead saying
“may you be as sweet and as good as this honey“
- The first course is raw garlic cut into small pieces and slightly salted. You can eat it with bread if you want to. It’s supposed to bring you health for next year.
- We eat Christmas wafer from church dipped in honey for good health as well
- The next dish is traditional mushroom soup called “mačanka” – can’t really translate that but it’s mushroom cream soup you eat with bread and baked potatoes. The best part is that we usually get to pick the mushrooms up ourselves during the summer and then froze them for winter.
- Another dish is cabbage and bean soup, also with some mushrooms and after few days we add the sausage in it. ( we eat Christmas food for next week at least)
- Next dist is fish – traditionally it’s supposed to be carp. You buy alive one that spends a few days in your bath before and then you get to kill it, cook and eat but this tradition never caught up in our family. We usually have salmon with potato salad. Our salad is a bit different from what you might imagine. Potatoes are cooked and cut into small pieces just as carrots, pickles, eggs, peas, onions mixed with mayo, mustard, and seasoning.
- We’re still not done so the next meal is called “bobaľky” – it’s a dumpling mixed with poppy seeds and milk. I don’t like this food at all because of my strong dislike of the poppy.
- Another tradition is that you have to eat a small portion of each of the courses – just for the taste.
- During the dinner, we drink eggnog or some other alcohol.
This is where dinner ends but traditions don’t.
- By the end of the dinner, we get to cut apple and see if the seeds create flower – shape meaning good luck for the family.
- Then we blow the candle (and things get creepy). If the smoke blows to the stove in the room it means that the mom/housekeeper dies next year.
- Then the dessert is served. Tons of Christmas cakes while we all sing Christmas carols.
- After songs, we move to the living room – or where the Christmas tree is and we open our gifts.
- Then we always visit our family in town or they come to us and we all eat, drink and just have a good time.
- At midnight we all go to church for midnight mass that’s just very beautiful. My favorite part is when all of the lights go down and everybody sings “silent night”
- 25 December looks a bit similar – we chill with family, watch Christmas movies and eat a lot.
Gotta love the Slovak Christmas with all of its tradition.
I believe they might sound odd to some of you but it’s truly the best time of the year.
Thank you for your attention