Slovakia - Lifestyle

Kategorie: Geografia (celkem: 1046 referátů a seminárek)

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  • Přidal/a: anonymous
  • Datum přidání: 23. února 2007
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Slovakia - Lifestyle

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
Most Slovak families have two or three children. Government budget cuts have resulted in charges for some services that used to be free, but paid maternity leave for mothers, a cash allowance for each birth, and childcare facilities are still provided. Most women work outside the home, and 44 per cent of the labour force is female. Women are usually also responsible for the care of the home and children, although some men are beginning to share the household duties. Most urban families live in small, modest flats built during the Communist era. Single-family homes are common in rural areas.

Men generally marry between the ages of 23 and 26, and women about three years earlier. Traditionally, a woman's family had to craft a set of feather beds for her, her future husband, and their first child. After the wedding ceremony, a bride's headdress was traditionally replaced with the cap of a married woman. Today, most Slovak weddings involve church ceremonies, and brides are often paraded around the village in a procession. The reception afterwards lasts until morning and the celebrations may go on for days. The groom carries his bride over the threshold of their new home. A housing shortage has meant that many newly married couples initially live with one set of parents.

EATING
Among the most popular Slovak foods are reze× (breaded steak) and potatoes, as well as other kinds of meat served with potatoes, rice, dumplings, or pasta and sauce. Some sweet dishes, such as prune dumplings, are served as part of the main course. The national dish is bryndzové halušky (small dumplings made with sheep's cheese), but it is not eaten often in the home. Freshly baked bread and soup are important parts of the diet. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and butter, are widely available. Fresh fruits (apples, plums, and grapes) are abundant, and imported bananas and oranges are popular for holidays. Potatoes, cabbage, and carrots are the most frequently eaten vegetables. Popular desserts include koláą (nut or poppy-seed rolls) and torta (cake).

Breakfast consists of bread and rolls, sliced meat or sausage, and cheese. The main meal is traditionally eaten in the middle of the day and commonly includes soup, meat, dumplings or potatoes, and a vegetable. A lighter meal of cold meats, cheese, and bread is eaten in the evening. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are common.

Families usually eat together at weekends, but not always on weekdays. Before eating, the head of the home says Dobrú chut' (the equivalent of “Enjoy your meal”), and others at the table respond with the same. Both hands are kept above the table, but elbows do not rest on it. A plate of freshly baked bread is often served before the meal.

When guests are present, women typically serve the meal but they do not always eat at the table. Often, only the guests are fed. It is normal for people not to talk while eating and to save conversation for after the meal. Slovaks toast with Na zdravie (“To your health”) on both formal and informal occasions.

In a restaurant it is common to drink beer, wine, soft drinks, or mineral water during the meal and a small cup of Turkish coffee after it. Milk is considered to be for children. Water is not provided unless it is requested.

SOCIALIZING
Shaking hands is the most common form of greeting, but when shaking hands in a group, it is considered improper to “cross over” another handshake. A man usually waits for a woman to extend her hand. Upon parting, men often hug women or kiss them on both cheeks and shake hands firmly with other men.

Formal titles carry a particular significance. People are addressed as Pan (“Mr.”) or Paní (“Mrs.”), followed by any professional title (“Doctor”, “Engineer”, “Professor”), and then the surname. First names are used upon mutual consent, among friends, and among young people. More formal greetings include Dobrý de× (“Good day”) or Vel’mi ma teší (“Pleased to meet you”). “Good-bye” is Dovidenia. More casual terms are Ahoj (“Hi”), !au, and Servus (both mean “Hello” or “Good-bye”). Some older villagers still use the traditional Zbohom (“God be with you”). “Thank you” is expressed with 0akujem. The use of Prosím (“Please”) is considered polite before making any requests and for saying “You’re welcome”.

Impromptu visits are common among family and close friends. When invited to someone’s home, it is customary to bring a bottle of alcohol or an odd number of flowers, which are presented unwrapped. Guests are expected to remove hats and sometimes their shoes (slippers may be provided) upon entering a home. It is insensitive to admire anything in the home too enthusiastically, as the hosts may feel obliged to make a gift of the object.

Refreshments are usually offered to guests, and it is courteous to politely decline the offer before eventually accepting.

Although it is acceptable to decline a specific item such as alcohol, it is impolite to refuse refreshments altogether. Rural Slovaks might serve friends or relatives slanina (home-smoked bacon) and bread, as well as a drink such as homemade slivovica (plum brandy), or beer, coffee, or tea. Urban hosts tend to serve chips, nuts, and wine rather than something homemade. On special occasions, a tray of ham, cheese, eggs, vegetables, and sweets may be served. An empty cup or glass will be refilled, so guests leave a little bit of drink when they have had enough. Since the working day starts early, most visits conclude before 11 PM.

RECREATION
Soccer, ice hockey, skiing, and tennis are the most popular sports in Slovakia. Other forms of recreation include walking, camping, swimming, and attending local festivals, cinemas, cultural events, and art exhibitions.

Slovaks take special pride in their folk music and sing with enthusiasm at gatherings; the saying Kde Slovák, tam spev means “Wherever there is a Slovak, there is a song”. Folk art is also appreciated and is often given to foreign visitors as a gift. It is available mostly in specialist shops, because few people carry on the old traditions of embroidery and woodcarving.

Many Slovaks spend weekends or vacations in the Tatry Mountains, at health spas, or in the countryside. Increasing numbers are now travelling to other countries in Europe.

HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS
Holidays include Saint Sylvester's Day (New Year's Eve; 31 December), New Year's Day (also Independence Day; 1 January), Easter, and Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius Day (5 July), which honours the two saints who introduced Christianity to the region and developed the Cyrillic alphabet used for many Slavic languages. Slovak National Uprising Day (29 August) commemorates the 1944 rebellion against the Nazis. Constitution Day is 1 September. Christmas is the most celebrated holiday. Children receive gifts of confectionery, fruit, and nuts on the Feast of Saint Nicholas (6 December). A typical Christmas Eve supper includes mushroom soup, fish, peas, prunes, and pastries. Following the meal, the tree is decorated and gifts are exchanged. Christmas Day (25 December) is celebrated with family gatherings and a festive meal. Church attendance on Christmas Day is also traditional.

Birthdays are celebrated as family events, whereas name days (the feast day of the saint after whom one is named) are occasions for parties among friends or colleagues, and are usually more important than birthdays.

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