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EUROPEAN UNION

Slovaks light the EU star


"DID YOU wake up rested on this European day?" an elder inhabitant of Bratislava's Dúbravka district asked his neighbour on the morning of May 1.
The night before, the two men, together with the rest of the nation, had celebrated victory over Russia in the closely followed World Ice Hockey Championship. The following morning they were ready to celebrate again - but this time a victory over borders, the future of a joined Europe.
Slovakia's capital, Bratislava, welcomed the milestone inside its palaces and out on its streets.

"DID YOU wake up rested on this European day?" an elder inhabitant of Bratislava's Dúbravka district asked his neighbour on the morning of May 1.

The night before, the two men, together with the rest of the nation, had celebrated victory over Russia in the closely followed World Ice Hockey Championship. The following morning they were ready to celebrate again - but this time a victory over borders, the future of a joined Europe.


photo: Ján Svrček

Slovakia's capital, Bratislava, welcomed the milestone inside its palaces and out on its streets. For two days, over 500 international artists entertained visitors who filled the city's historical core and lined both sides of the Danube.

The 15 long-term EU members presented their countries on "European Street" on Františkánske námestie. Together with the ambassadors of the new EU members, they created an Integration Mound at Vajanské nábrežie based on the tradition of the Coronation Mound, when pieces of earth from all the counties of the Hungarian


photo: Ján Svrček

Along with Irish, British, Italian, Dutch, and Spanish tunes, revellers received a considerable helping of Slovak folklore, largely from the popular Lúčnica folk dance and music ensemble. Clowns, acrobats, and mimes entertained passers-by, highlighting their new European identity by imprinting the EU's yellow star on their cheeks.


photo: Ján Svrček

Kingdom were put together to symbolise the integrity of the country. This time, though, the earth that came from each of the 25 EU members was laid out separately, symbolising the preservation of each country's unique identity in the united EU.


photo: Ján Svrček

Apart from the hockey tournament, there were other annual events taking place that distracted people from the EU celebration, such as the Celtic festival at Červený Kameň Castle. On the other hand, regular visitors to the Harley Davidson motorbike festival in Zlaté Piesky incorporated the enlargement into their festivities.


photo: Ján Svrček

Each of the capital's 17 districts prepared a special programme for the occasion, as did many towns across the country. Devín Castle symbolically burned down its borders, and the central Slovak town of Zvolen welcomed the EU and May, the month of love.


photo: Ján Svrček

Lovers could win fruit, cakes, or sausages arranged on the maypoles framing the city's square if they kissed underneath them.


photo: Ján Svrček

The day culminated in fireworks, as if symbolically lighting the country's star in the joined European sky.


photo: Ján Svrček

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