Nitra, August 16 (TASR) – Nitra, the oldest city in Slovakia, will see a city kermesse and harvest festival this coming weekend for the first time after a long hiatus, TASR learnt on Friday.
The city kermesse used to take place in Nitra in mid-August as of at least the 18th century, linked to the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. A church with this dedication was built back in the High Middle Ages at the foot of the protruding ‘Calvary’ hill, now swallowed up by the city. Also revived in Nitra will be the local harvest festival, abandoned after the fall of Communism.
“The August pilgrimages to Calvary hill are still attended copiously by pilgrims from Nitra and its larger area, but there had been no link to city-wide celebrations. Meanwhile, the Nitra harvest festival used to be viewed as political glorification of the former Communist regime, and it faded out after 1989. However, the idea of celebrating the harvest is timeless,” said Nitra deputy mayor Daniel Balko.
He believes that this revival of the harvest festival comes at an opportune time amid a trend of support for domestic production, while the event could help Nitra to regain its image of a supraregional centre of quality farming products.
“Kermesses have always been about fairs, craftsmen and entertainment, so it’s a natural move to link these two festivals for their mutual benefit. It also makes it possible to turn the ‘kermesse harvest festival’ into a new supraregional event, attractive also for tourists,” said Balko.
A dance party with a public school of local dances will take place on Svatopluk Square in the city centre on Saturday, along with demonstrations of baking ‘Nitranske Lokse’ potato-dough pancakes and the somewhat thicker ‘Drapaky’. Lightly fermented ‘burcak’ new wine from this season will also be on sale at a major wine tent featuring regional wines.