The first date of the Georgian calendar, i.e. January 1st, marks the arrival of the moment of New Year for the people of Slovakia. Slovakia, which is located in the Central European region, celebrates its New Year with lot of fervor and liveliness.
People refer New Year’s Eve as Silvester, which is the term taken from the Slovak calendar. According to Slovakian tradition and Slovakian calendar, December 31st or the last day of the year is associated with men with the name of ‘Silvester’.
New Year Celebrations in Slovakia
New Year celebrations in Slovakia prominently revolve around having a special New Year’s Eve dinner at a fine restaurant and hotel, with close friends and members of the family. Some others prefer to plan a short trip to the mountains during the time. Then, there are many who wish to have quiet New Year celebrations at their home. They either choose to organize a special feast inclusive of special dishes and wine, with all close friends and members of extended family invited, or they choose to simply eat, sit, and watch special New Year shows telecasted on television late at that night.
Usually, at the time of the midnight, people prefer to move out of their homes over to the streets or to famous party places to be a part of social celebrations. Also, people preferably move out to locations or city squares from where they can have a precise view of the astonishing fireworks show to be set off at midnight to welcome the New Year. As soon as the moment of New Year arrives at twelve, everyone irrespective of the place they are, whether streets, home, hotels, restaurants, or concerts, raise a toast to cheerfully mark their grand welcome to the New Year.
Traditional New Year Celebrations in Slovakia
Apart from the standard New Year celebrations, there are some interesting customs and traditions, followed by the native of Slovakia while celebrating New Year. Most of these traditions are quite funny, and thus add an additional amusing angle to the entire New Year celebrations time. Masks and parades are intrinsic part of the New Year celebrations in Slovakia, as a part of which processions go through different streets. People participating in these parades wear amusing masks and dresses, and sing, dance, and clap through the entire procession. They also make visits to each and every house, where people pleasurably serve them with foods and drinks. In some of the processions, people move along with wooden swords in a closed chain, which commemorates for the ancient sword dance which is considered as a symbol of the eternal cycle of life.
There is another tradition of making loud noises while welcoming the New Year. Usually, people in Slovakia make use of wooden ratchet or rehtacka, which comes in different sizes. These instruments are used to blow loud and clanging noises. These noises along with the noises as created out of the fireworks show are traditionally considered to sway away all evil spirits and negative energies of the past, and ensure a positive start to the New Year.
The ancient tradition of Lead Pouring or Das Bleigieen is also prominently followed in Slovakia during New Year’s time. As a part of this tradition, a small amount of lead is taken to be melted in a tablespoon with the help of a candle flame. The melted lead is then poured in a bowl of water. Then, predictions are made for the coming year on the basis of the different shapes formed by the molten lead in the bowl of water. Each of the shapesis predefined and is considered as a symbol of a particular trait. For instance, a molten lead forming a shape of a ball suggests good luck in the coming year, a shape of an anchor suggests help or need, a shape of a cross suggests death, etc.