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AROUND SLOVAKIA

A muted New Year in some cities

THE TRADITION of celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next in the company of crowds in the street has become more popular in Slovakia over recent years and continued in 2010 too. In the capital, Bratislava, Mayor Milan Ftáčnik praised the fireworks but expressed regret at the poor visibility caused by heavy fog. The head of communications for the city council, Milan Vajda, explained to the SITA newswire that this was caused by significant humidity. The numbers celebrating in the streets were similar to previous years, with several thousands attending, including foreign visitors.

Lanterns with wishes: New Year in Bratislava.(Source: TASR)

THE TRADITION of celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next in the company of crowds in the street has become more popular in Slovakia over recent years and continued in 2010 too. In the capital, Bratislava, Mayor Milan Ftáčnik praised the fireworks but expressed regret at the poor visibility caused by heavy fog. The head of communications for the city council, Milan Vajda, explained to the SITA newswire that this was caused by significant humidity. The numbers celebrating in the streets were similar to previous years, with several thousands attending, including foreign visitors.

The evening show was also comparable with recent years. The main stage was in Main Square, while Hviezdoslavovo Square hosted a simultaneous programme for revellers. The main novelty in Bratislava was the mass launch of Chinese, or Kongming, lanterns. The civic association Želaj si (Make a Wish) came up with the idea, which found a ready response among Bratislava inhabitants as well as visitors. Several hundred sky lanterns, which allow people to make a wish and as they let the lantern fly high into the sky, floated off into the fog from 23:00.

In Košice, several thousand people gathered around the Immaculata sculptural group in the Main Street to take part in a party hosted by Richard Hergott. As in Bratislava, a new mayor, Košice’s Richard Raši, personally took part in the celebrations.

In Prešov, local bands entertained people; and after midnight a disco continued well into the small hours. Banská Bystrica welcomed in the New Year with a programme full of music hosted by Ján Snopko in SNP Square. Originally, there should have been no fireworks due to municipal austerity measures, but a local businessman and councillor sponsored them at the last moment.

In Trojičné (Trinity) Square in Trnava, around 200 people celebrated the New Year with a firework display, only to leave soon afterwards. The city council decided not to offer any further programme, SITA wrote. For years, Trnava has been the only regional centre with no Silvester (New Year’s Eve) celebrations other than fireworks. However, this year Žilina too, after two years of hosting a wider range of events, had only fireworks. Incoming Mayor Igor Choma decided to cancel the celebrations due to the city’s poor financial situation.

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