Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Vasele Vianoce A stastkivy Novy Rok"
Location: Central Europe
Tree Type: Traditional

Decorations:

  • The colored ornaments represent the national colors of Slovakia.

Traditions: Preparations for the Christmas season starts early in Advent with the buying of nuts, poppyseed and flour all necessary for the holiday baking.

St. Nicholas (Mikulas) visits homes on December 6th. If the children were good they would be given candies chocolates, nuts and special fruits. If the children were bad they were given coal. These gifts would be placed in the children's shoes or given to them in person if St. Nicholas comes to the house.

Traditionally there is a strict fast before Christmas. The Christmas season is a time for reconciliation. Borrowed items are returned and forgiveness is asked from family, friends and neighbors. The women clean the entire house on the morning of Christmas Eve. The floor under the table is painted with whitewash. The table legs are chained as a symbol of family ties and unity. Only the family could sit at the table on Christmas Eve.

When twilight arrives on Christmas Eve (Vilija), the mother places a white tablecloth on the table as a symbol of the Christ Child's swaddling clothes. In the center of the table are placed a round loaf of bread that symbolizes the belief that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Along side the bread is placed a candle symbolizing the star of Bethlehem. The father brings in clean straw and spread around on the floor of the house symbolizing the straw of the manger. Before supper is eaten the family goes out to the well or stream and wash their faces and hands. This is a remembrance of the legend that the shepherds washed themselves before going to see the Christ Child.