Halloween in Slovakia
Have you ever wondered how is Halloween celebrated in Slovakia?
Then you are on the right track to find out! It might not be the same tradition but it is altogether interesting to know what awaits you shall you spend your time here during these holidays.
Yes, we celebrate Halloween in a way...
First of all, Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October.
The Halloween celebration in Slovakia is influenced by American culture taking the form of parties and carnivals. However, the celebration in Slovakia is composed of two days besides Halloween: Sviatok všetkých svätých - All Saints' Day - celebrated on the 1st of November and Pamiatka zosnulých - Honouring the dead also known as Dušičky - All Souls' Day - celebrated on the 2nd of November.
A little history of our "Halloween"
It is believed that Halloween as a celebration in Slovakia has been already taking place before Christianity in the Slavic era. The celebration itself had a slightly different form back in the day. One could say, almost shocking and opposed to how it is celebrated today.
The honouring of the dead would actually happen 4 times a year. People would feast, dance and drink on the grave of their late ones in masks while staging a symbolic battle with evil spirits during this celebration to honour the dead.
The first celebration would take place 40 days after the passing, second on "Halloween" and then in the spring and autumn as it was believed the equinox makes the spirit world and our world overlap and bring the dead closer to us.
Trees and plants were considered as an intermediary between the living and the dead resulting in people placing branches and flowers on the graves.
The "All Saints' Day" celebration is closely connected with "Honouring the dead" which is, however, considered as a Christian holiday in the 4th century.
Only around the 10th century, "All Souls' Day" was celebrated by bonfires, parades and people dressing up in costumes like angels, saints and demons to honour the dead.
Slovak Halloween celebration today
It is a tradition to go to the cemeteries and honour our dead by bringing flowers, pine branches with the connection of the history mentioned above. People here tend to clean the graves and spend a little time remembering their late ones.
Our predecessors would leave the rest of the dinner and drinks on the kitchen table overnight so that the soul would not cry but could feast instead. This would combine the celebration of the Christian and pre-Christian habits creating the base for giving food and money to the poor so they could also pray for the peace of the dead.
Lastly, decorating the graves and lighting candles symbolised the eternal light to light the path of the souls of believers.
To this day, the atmosphere of thousands of lit candles and decorated graves in every cemetery is preserved in Slovakia as an important part of honouring our dead. In addition to this, it is no secret that Halloween parties and other festivities are also popular. However, that would more depend on the people you meet as everyone celebrates in their own way.
So go on and celebrate it the way you like. Happy Slovak "Halloween" everyone! 🙂