CULTURE OF SLOVAKIA
"Slovak" is derived from the Slovakian term for Slav: Slovan. There are three main regional culture areas: western, central, and eastern. Slovensko is the shortened local name for Slovakia, or the Slovak Republic. Slovaks share a common culture despite regional and even local differences in dialect, local customs, and religion. Hungarians (Magyars) in Slovakia are generally bilingual and have been acculturated but wish to maintain their national culture, especially their language
The art of Slovakia springs from a wide range of traditions, and has regularly incorporated folk and European tendencies in its treatment of chosen themes and motifs. It often exhibits the characteristic poignancy of the changing times while encapsulating a unique take on reality. By way of introduction to Slovak art, we turn to the works of Abin Brunovsky, for containing, in many aspects, some of the features which could conceivably be categorized as "Slovak art". Albin Brunovsky (1935-1997) introduced some of the finer examples of Slovak art in the last century.
Fashion deserves some discussion, too. Shoes say a lot about a person. They should be polished and proper and should never show even a speck of dirt. Yet despite the importance of footwear cleanliness, never wear your shoes inside someone's home. Leave them at the door - your host will often offer you a pair of slippers. Clothes, especially in the bigger cities, are also socially important for Slovaks. If you are not well-groomed and snappy looking, be prepared for stares. Of course, you may yourself end up staring at what sometimes passes for Slovak fashion. For starters, mobile phones, owned by virtually everyone, are in fact a fashion accessory. And when swimming, try not to stare at the men of all shapes and sizes wearing skimpy swimming suits. (Keeps an eye out for the guy walking around the lake with his mobile clipped to the tiny waist band of his Speedos.)If your fashion sense is acceptable enough to land you a date (this is for the men), bring flowers, but be sure to always give an odd number (even numbered bouquets are reserved for funerals). Also, if the flowers are wrapped in paper, take them out before you present them.
Slovak literature, the body of literature produced in the Slovak language. Until the 18th century there was no systematic attempt to establish a literary language on the basis of the Slovak dialects, which, though closely related to Czech, had developed a separate identity from the early Middle Ages. The decline of literary Czech in the early 18th century, however, generated an increase of local colouring in devotional texts in Slovakia. Shortly after, Anton Bernolák produced a grammar (1790) and dictionary (1825–27) of the Slovak language and codified its literary usage. In an era of reviving national consciousness, this language was taken up by a number of writers, above all Ján Hollý, who used Slovak to produce lyrics, idylls, and national epics. Jozef Ignác Bajza's novel René (1783–85), using Slovakized Czech, also had a strong impact.
A walk through old Bratislava The present-day capital of Slovakia (430,000 inhabitants) experienced a period of historic glory as the coronation city of Hungarian kings. Ten Roman Catholic emperors of the Habsburg dynasty (Habsburg - Loraine) and one queen Maria Theresa were crowned in Bratislava's St. Martin's Cathedral between 1563 and 1830, together with eight wives of the kings.
The people of Slovakia are descended from the Slavic peoples who settled the Danube river basin in the 6th and 7th centuries B.C.E. Traditionally, the Slovak people were relegated to the peasant class and even after emancipation they have had strong links to tilling the soil. Under communism some industrialization was undertaken and today Slovak society includes both elements of folk traditions and modern society. The political transformations of 1989 brought new freedoms that have considerably widened the societal outlook of the populace, yet many of the cultural movements are still in their infancy and consequently a large part of the elderly population is still rural and dependant on agriculture. On January 1, 1993 Slovakia became an independent nation-state, recognized by the United Nations and its member states. Although some aspects of the society already had a unique national character, namely the language, many of the customs, laws and conventions were still deeply influenced by past rulers: Czechs, Hungarians and the Austrian Habsburgs. However the deep traditions, some dating back hundreds of years, of the Slovak people underlie the apparent nascency of the Slovak Republic.
Cinema of Slovakia
The cinema of Slovakia encompasses a range of themes and styles typical of European cinema. Yet there are a certain number of recurring themes that are visible in the majority of the important works. These include rural settings, folk traditions, and carnival. Even in the field of experimental film-making, there is frequently a celebration of nature and tradition. The same applies to blockbusters like Juraj Jakubisko's A Thousand-Year Old Bee. The percentage of comedies, adventures, musicals, sci-fi films and similar genres has been low by comparison to dramas and historical films that used to include a notable subset of social commentaries on events from the decade or two preceding the film. The themes of recent films have been mostly contemporary.The center of Slovak filmmaking has been the Koliba studio in Bratislava. Some films conceived at the Barrandov Studios in Prague have had Slovak themes, actors, directors, and occasionally language, while Prague-based filmmakers and actors have sometimes worked in Slovakia. In line with Slovak, Hungarian, and Czech histories, their past sharing of the Kingdom of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, there is early overlap between Slovak and Hungarian film, and later between Slovak and Czech film. Some films are easily sorted out as one or the other, some films belong meaningfully to more than one national cinema.