Christmas party // Vianočná party

Now that Christmas time is gone and we can look at it with nostalgia and longing, you, reader, are gonna be able to excuse us from dedicating this blog entry to say how much we loved the Christmas celebration of our office and from recommending songs like the following: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY  Continue reading

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Sunday with St. Nicholas // Nedeľa s Mikulášom

Google images: http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/ a351/britishgrenadier/Saints/ St%20Nicholas/nicolascarte.jpg

Google images: http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/
a351/britishgrenadier/Saints/
St%20Nicholas/nicolascarte.jpg

This post is gonna be dedicated to one of the Slovak Christmas customs I came across with for the first time in here: Saint Nicholas. Even if in my high school English classes, I heard something about a cardinal that decided to distribute goods to disadvantaged people at some point in history, I didn’t have much clue about what was that celebration apparently a lot of countries have nowadays.

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It was after a conversation with an Austrian friend when I got to know that the 6th of December is considered a day in which you are allowed to give and eat as much chocolate and mandarins as your body can bear. It didn’t sound bad to begin with, though I still wasn’t completely aware of what this celebration implied.

The 8th of this month was gonna be the moment in which I finally could have a close-up view of this Saint Nicholas tradition. After a journey that compensated (more or less) the travel sickness due to the infinite curves with astounding views, we arrived at a little village called Poniky.

In an all covered up with snow scenario, what I presume it was the majority of families in Poniky was suddenly holding hands and walking around a massive tree that after their singing lighted up in various colours. Christmas had been officially welcomed, so it was time for Saint Nicholas to do its long awaited appearance.

DSCF8680Bringing several bags full of chocolate and accompanied by an angel and a demon, he started to give out the presents to the people in there; and even if I still can’t quite understand what were the angel and the demon doing in there, the kids (and let’s not lie, also myself) enjoyed the spectacle.

The show was followed by dances, performances and activities organised by their school, just in time to finish with a wonderful surprise: two friends and I we were invited by the director of the school to try the traditional Slovak kapustnica! Definitely Slovak hospitality, food and a glass of champagne couldn’t of being a better ending for this curious day.

Irene.

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Tento blog je venovaný jednému z vianočných zvykov, s ktorým som sa po prvýkrát stretla tu na Slovensku – Svätému Mikulášovi. Na hodinách angličtiny na strednej škole som síce počula o nejakom kardinálovi v minulosti, rozdávajúcom veci ľuďom zo sociálne slabších vrstiev. Nemala som však jasnú predstavu o tomto sviatku, ktorý sa v dnešnej dobe slávi zrejme v mnohých krajinách.

Až po rozhovore s kamarátkou z Rakúska som sa dozvedela, že 6. december je dňom, kedy môžete darovať a zjesť toľko čokolády a mandarínok, koľko len vládzete. Na začiatok to znelo celkom dobre, no stále som si nevedela predstaviť, čo všetko v sebe tento sviatok zahŕňa.

8. decembra mal prísť moment, kedy som sa konečne mohla poriadne zoznámiť s tradíciou Svätého Mikuláša. Po ceste do malej dedinky Poniky sa vo mne striedal pocit nevoľnosti z nekonečných zákrut s údivom nad krásnymi výhľadmi.

V zasneženej scenérii sa väčšina rodín, aspoň predpokladám, z Ponikov zrazu chytila za ruky a kráčala v kruhu okolo mohutného stromu, na ktorom sa po dospievaní rozsvietili farebné žiarovky. Vianoce boli oficiálne privítané, a tak nastal čas príchodu dlho očakávaného Svätého Mikuláša.

Mikuláš prišiel s niekoľkými vrecami plnými čokolády a začal rozdávať okolostojacim darčeky. Sprevádzali ho anjel a čert, a i keď stále celkom nerozumiem, aká bola ich úloha, deťom (a čo si budeme klamať – aj mne) sa to veľmi páčilo.

Po tomto predstavení nasledovali tance, vystúpenia a aktivity, ktoré si pripravila miestna škola. Na záver prišlo úžasné prekvapenie: riaditeľ školy pozval mňa a dvoch kamarátov na ochutnávku tradičnej slovenskej kapustnice. Tento zaujímavý deň sa rozhodne nemohol skončiť lepšie ako takouto slovenskou pohostinnosťou, jedlom a pohárom šampanského.

Irene

Preklad: Jana Jašková, Stanislava Dengová