Bratislava, December 23 (TASR) – Many Slovaks living abroad celebrate Christmas with their traditions together, be it in churches and at meetings with the traditional cabbage soup ‘kapustnica’ being served, TASR was told on Friday by Vladimir Skalsky, chairman of the World Association of Slovaks Living Abroad and director of the Slovak House in Prague.
“I live in Prague, which has seen pre-Christmas meetings in the Slovak House and at the Slovak Embassy, but there have also been meetings in regional communities of Slovaks and regional Slovak-Czech clubs in individual towns,” said Skalsky, adding that Slovaks abroad also organise meetings to mark Saint Nicholas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Skalsky estimates that around 1.5-2 million ethnic Slovaks now live abroad, including those living for three centuries in the ‘Low Lands’, meaning Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Croatia, and Slovaks who emigrated across the Atlantic.
“In the Low Lands, for example, Christmas is very traditional and religious, it’s nothing unusual to see churches full of Slovaks wearing folk costumes,” said Skalsky.
Meanwhile, around 300,000-400,000 people with Slovak citizenship live abroad in the long-term. “A large proportion of them return to Slovakia to spend Christmas there; I estimate that as much as one half of them,” said Skalsky.
Apart from their homeland, many Slovaks abroad miss traditional Slovak food and ingredients, said Skalsky. “In some places they’re reliant to find replacement in the ever-present Polish shops,” added Skalsky.