HISTORY TALKS

Growing up with alcohol

UNTIL THE first half of the 20th century, the territory of today’s Slovakia was predominantly agricultural. With the exception of urban dwellers, most people earned their living through farming or raising cattle.

UNTIL THE first half of the 20th century, the territory of today’s Slovakia was predominantly agricultural. With the exception of urban dwellers, most people earned their living through farming or raising cattle.

Rural life in the countryside was fundamentally different from urban life, not only in terms of occupations, but also in the way that social life was organised. In the villages people tended to participate in gender-specific social organisations at an early age, usually in their free time. Boys, for example, would meet in so-called lads’ associations. Although such clubs were meant exclusively for boys, their activities were often focused on meeting members of the opposite sex.
The criteria for entering such associations were age, completion of elementary school, a ceremonial religious confession and work experience.

Girls’ social groups were not organised as strictly. The younger girls would wait to be invited by the older ones, and when this happened they brought a bottle of alcohol and were thus accepted into the group.

In this postcard by Slovak photographer and ethnographer Pavel Socháň, we can see girls from Bošáca dressed up in festive folk costumes. The photographer captured these evidently well-organised girls sometime around 1910.

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