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Slovak and Czech Christmas Traditions

In the whirlwind of shopping for presents, decorating our homes, and stocking our pantries, there is a gentle voice calling us to connect with the very essence of Christmas.

Long before the dawn of Christianity, before Christmas markets, trees, and lights, there was a time when this season was filled with myths, magic, and rituals. No, it was not erased by the advance of modernity and commercial Christmas.

In the heart of Europe, Christmas folklore and customs speak of a distant past, mystical ancestry, and a wholesome life and values. Slovak and Czech Christmas traditions merge the Christian and the pagan, the old and the new, the seen and the unseen. They hold the key to unlocking the depth and breadth of our rich heritage and profound wisdom. They speak to us of who we really are, and they are filled with respect for our roots and for those who came before us.

This talk will present stories of known, unknown, peculiar, and touching customs. These customs are colored with humor, sentiment, and memories, and will be brought to life by our speakers.

Gabriela Bereghazyová is a scholar, expert on corruption, published author, and storyteller. She completed a degree in Traditional Slovak Culture in Slovakia before continuing her education at prestigious British universities. Gabriela’s insight into folklore and culture merges with rigorous research and storytelling. Her broad perspective comes through in her unique work, which includes courses, webinars, talks, and books. Gabriela has spent much time living, working, and studying abroad, which allows her to present Slovakia’s complex heritage and history in a fresh and accessible way.

Zuzana Palovič is the daughter of Slovak emigrants. Born behind the Iron Curtain, she and her family fled the communist regime as political refugees and became naturalized citizens of Canada. Having spent her early childhood in the East, she was raised and educated in the West, receiving a PhD in the United Kingdom. Zuzana has lived in nine countries on four continents, but found that her cosmopolitan lifestyle did nothing to erode her love for Slovakia. Instead, it strengthened her hunger to re-discover her roots and reconnect with her homeland. From science to mythology, from business to folklore, Zuzana has actively researched how the past has shaped Slovakia’s present.

Cost: Free online program. Registration required.
Please contact SASW at rsvp@dcslovaks.org if you have questions

Presented by The Slovak American Society of Washington, D.C. (SASW)

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December 13, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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