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New Year’s celebrations both classics and raucous

THE CHRISTMAS season in Slovakia still reflects some of the Christian traditions of the country, as well as most of the traditions. However, after having spent some time secluded in their family circles, people tend to celebrate the New Year’s Eve and the coming of the New Year by partying, visiting the theatre or a concert – or perhaps taking in a firework show.

New Year's Eve in Slovak capital. (Source: Sme - Vladimír Šimíček)

THE CHRISTMAS season in Slovakia still reflects some of the Christian traditions of the country, as well as most of the traditions. However, after having spent some time secluded in their family circles, people tend to celebrate the New Year’s Eve and the coming of the New Year by partying, visiting the theatre or a concert – or perhaps taking in a firework show.

In Bratislava, the New Year’s Eve – or Silvester, as it is called due to the saint whose name is celebrated on that day – will again be celebrated in the Main Square, in Hviezdoslavovo Square, and on the Danube bank, with the biggest fireworks display on the river.

In the Main Square, the traditional band associated with Silvester, Hex, will take a break this time, to be replaced by “the band of the year 2014 in Slovakia”, as city representatives deemed Korben Dallas. Other performers include jazzman Peter Lipa and his Tradicional Club, Polemic (which will make the final countdown at midnight) and Billy Barman.

In the nearby Hviezdoslavovo Square, the Silvester concert from the Slovak Philharmonic will be broadcast on a big screen at 16:00, and from 20:00 on, there will be disco with DJ Tucsom surrounding the central artificial ice-rink.

In the Ľ: Štúra Square, there will be the Silvester countdown. Midnight fireworks over the Danube are very visible from here – between the non-functional Old Bridge and the SNP bridge.

For culture vultures, apart from the Slovak Philharmonic’s (SF) concert in Reduta, there is also a Silvester concert on offer in the Slovak National Theatre (with arias from Verdi operas) at 16:00, and some theatres give a special performance as well. SF, conducted by Rastislav Štúr, with tenor Otokar Klein and soprano Eva Hornyaková will play popular pieces “of the lighter genre” –operetta, waltz and more - by Johannes Strauss, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán and some others. (The same concert will be performed also on the New Year’s Day, at 19:00.

City transport will run more frequently on New Year’s Eve, with trams and buses, and the trolleybus No N72, operating at 15 and 30 minute intervals on their normal routes. Visitors coming the city centre are recommended to leave their cars home and come with city transport, as the whole Danube embankment and the centre will be closed to cars anyway.

Between 18:00-19:00, there will be 15 checkpoints for pedestrians where city police will check randomly for dangerous items like glass bottles, knives, gas pyrotechnics, or weapons, so it is not advisable to take them to the open-air Silvester party. There will be some random checks, too, throughout the evening. Apart from medical point at Reduta and University Library, Red Cross volunteers will be mingling among the crowd, too.

Those who prefer a more toned-down Silvester celebration, the city of Bratislava offers also a concert on January 1: the band Legacy will play their cover versions, Bratislava Hot Serenaders will move in time to the mid 19th century, and Tradicional Club with Peter Lipa will help them in this. The concert will take place between 14:00 and 16:00 in the Main Square, including a speech by the new Bratislava mayor Ivo Nesrovnal who invites also for a glass of wine on the occasion of the New Year 2015. More information can be found at bkis.sk or bratislava.sk.

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