New Traditions

One of the most enjoyable aspects of living in another culture is the exploration of new traditions. Slovak culture, being steeped in Catholic traditions, focuses strongly on the 4-day holiday that surrounds Easter (Velká noc). On Easter Friday (Veľkonočný piatok) people do not eat meat to symbollically connect with the suffering of Jesus on the cross. On Saturday mass is held at 9:00pm to mark the resurrection of Jesus; not on Sunday as is common in North America (we suspect that time zones may be a factor…). Most people leave the city and make their way to “the nature” for time with friends and family; thus Nitra has been empty of people but filled with church bells.

The real fun comes on Veľkonočný pondelok (Easter Monday) when traditionally women stay at home and men don their best attire and go door to door armed with a korbáč (a whip woven from several tree branches and tied with brightly coloured ribbon), water and perfume. The men chase after the women and hit them on the legs with the korbáč and splash water and perfume on them to cleanse them and make them pure. The man should then give the bottle of perfume as a present to the woman. In return the woman gives her Easter assailant a decorated egg or some chocolates.

Matthew, in an attempt to be culturally sensitive, embraced this new tradition…


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