Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Markets Open in Slovakia

'Tis the season of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, sleigh bells ringing and the voices of children singing Christmas carols.  In Slovakia it is time for the Christmas markets.  The season is marked by Advent in this primarily Catholic country.  The lighting of the village Christmas tree begins the Christmas markets.  

Christmas Tree in Piestany
At around 4pm, just as the sun is setting, the tree was lit in the main square followed by children dancing and local bands playing Christmas favorites such as Silent Night and traditional Slovak folk music.

The Christmas market size really depends on the village community.  In Piestany the tradition is only about 10 or 11 years old.  The Christmas market began in large cities like Bratislava, post Soviet rule, but has moved to all villages across the country.

Christmas Market in full swing
In the markets you will find Grog (hot rum), Punc (wine & rum punch) or mulled (hot) wine.  Try a glass of your favorite drink with Lokse, a potato pancake filled with savory goose liver or cabbage.  The pancake is made with flour, egg and boiled mashed potatoes. The mixture is put into a hot pan but not fried. I tried both the liver and cabbage and was pleasantly surprised.  I really enjoyed the taste. Normally I wouldn't even try liver but this was quite good. There are plenty of homemade cakes and cookies too.
Punc (Punch) Hot Wine with Rum

Lights in the park square

Getting Ready for 2013
The Christmas markets will be open through Advent.  This is one tradition in Slovakia I can really get behind; hot drinks, home made cakes, Lokse and of course, everyone meeting and greeting to wish each other a wonderful holiday.

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