Christmas Day (December 25), a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, has traditionally been a quiet day for Slovaks. Like other groups, the pre-Christian Slavs associated this time of year with the rebirth of the sun.
According to the calendar, December 25 was also considered to be the beginning of a new year. After the arrival of Christianity, women were banned from entering a stranger's house on Christmas Day in traditional Slav culture. It was believed that everybody must stay at home and refrain from visiting other people. No housework was done during the day, including cooking, with people simply eating what they had prepared on Christmas Eve, the TASR newswire wrote.
The only exception was a tour of the houses by young men early in the morning to wish everyone well. December 26 in Slovakia is often referred to as Saint Stephen's Day, which commemorates the first Christian martyr Stephen, who, according to the Bible, was stoned to death because of his faith in Jesus Christ. Saint Stephen's Day is also a day for social contacts. Families and friends often visit each other, while those with the name Stephen celebrate their name day.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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