Foreigners: Top 10 December events around Slovakia

Christmas in the Slovak countryside and an exhibition on the Slovak ice-hockey are just two of top 10 events worth visiting in December.

People takes part in the New Year's Eve Run in Bratislava on December 31, 2018. The event returns to the capital for the 31st time this yearPeople takes part in the New Year's Eve Run in Bratislava on December 31, 2018. The event returns to the capital for the 31st time this year (Source: Starz.sk)

Before Christmas come, let's get into a pre-festive mood at ice-rinks and Christmas markets held across Slovakia. Or, pick any of the ten events below and add up December experiences to your life while in Slovakia:

  1. CHILDREN: St Nicholas Train, Dec 5-7, Slovak Museum of Agriculture, Nitra
  2. EXHIBITION: Franz Milec: Made in America, Dec 6-8, New Synagogue, Žilina
  3. SPORT: Košice St Nicholas Run, Dec 7, Main Street, Košice
  4. CHARITY: Missionary Bazaar, Dec 7-8, St Maria Hall, Trnava
  5. FAMILY: UCho.Children’s World of Design, Dec 7-8, Tabačka Kulturfabrik, Košice
  6. TRADITIONS: Christmas in the Countryside, Dec 8, Museum of a Slovak Village, Martin
  7. DISCUSSION: Why Are Slovaks Like That?, Dec 11, Kubik, Trnava
  8. MUSIC: VIBE fest, Dec 20, Sports Centre, Košice
  9. EXHIBITION: 90 Years of Slovak Ice-Hockey, until Jan 2020, Podtatranské Museum, Poprad
  10. SPORT: New Year's Eve Run, Dec 31, bridges, Bratislava

1) St Nicholas Train

On December 6, St Nicholas will come to Central Europe and a few other countries in the region to fill children’s boots with treats provided they have behaved well all year long. St Nicholas and his two helpers, an angel and a devil, will visit a Nitra museum as well. Apart from a steam train ride, visitors will learn more about baking traditional Christmas wafers and spiced honey cookies. They will also decorate a Christmas tree and roast Christmas apples, to name a few activities. Traditional Slovak meat products will go on sale on December 7, which cannot be missing on any Christmas table.

Place: Nitra
Venue: Slovak Museum of Agriculture (Slovenské poľnohospodárske múzeum)
Date: Dec 5-7
Time: 9:00 – 16:00
Admission: free. Steam train ride: €3.

A number of St Nicholas trains are planned in the first days of December across Slovakia. Find out if one is near your town here.

2) Franz Milec: Made in America

Franz Milec is a multimedia artist from Žilina. In his works, he focuses on the present, in which a human audio-visual field has become politicised and commercialised. His works tend to recycle elements of blockbuster cinematography, and the artist presents the audience with his vision of the future of the world. For example, Milec reflects on today’s world order, supervised by the USA, taking on the role of one of the virtual destroyers of this order and commenting on the end of US hegemony.

Place: Žilina
Venue: New Synagogue (Nová synagóga)
Date: Dec 6-8
Time: 13:00 – 19:00
Admission: free

3) Košice St Nicholas Run

The special 4-km-long run is one of few events where sports, fun, and helping others intertwine. Those who have never run in a St Nicholas costume now have the occasion to in Košice. Runners can bring their own costumes, though a St Nicholas cap is included in the registration fee, which will besides help the non-profit organisation Úsmev ako dar. The run starts at 18:30 and registration opens three hours before.

Place: Košice
Venue: Main Street (Hlavná ulica)
Date: Dec 7
Time: 15:30 – 20:00
Admission: free unless joining the run (€9 – adult, €6 – child). For online registration (until Dec 2) click here. It is possible to register on site (€12 – adult, €8 – child), but there is no guarantee you will get a medal.

The same run takes place on December 14 in Prešov. Click here for registration.

4) Missionary Bazaar

A traditional missionary bazaar for India will be held in Trnava this month. People can help by bringing electronics, books, décor objects, tableware, toys, kitchen appliances, and anything useful. However, no clothes. The items collected will be used in a school for homeless children and children living in slums in India.

Place: Trnava
Venue: St Maria Hall (Mariánska sála) – entrance from Franciscan Street (Františkánska ulica)
Date: Dec 7-8
Time: 8:00 – 12:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 (on both days)
Admission: free

5) UCho.Children’s World of Design

The design festival will offer handmade and unique toys, games, accessories, books, and furniture made from natural materials. While parents will also take part in lectures, e.g. what it is like to be a single mother and businesswoman at the same time, children will be entertained by performers and can partake in dance and painting workshops, too.

Place: Košice
Venue: Tabačka Kulturfabrik
Date: Dec 7-8
Time: 12:30 – 18:00 (Day 1) and 10:00 – 18:00 (Day 2)
Admission: €4 (in cash). Children below 12 and pensioners for free.

6) Christmas in the Countryside

People eager to learn more about Advent and Christmas customs should travel to Martin, central Slovakia, where the open-air Museum of a Slovak Village is located. Wandering carolers, St Nicholas and his companions arriving at the museum, making Christmas decorations, baking Christmas wafers, and decorating spiced honey cookies are the activities that will be going on in the museum ahead of Christmas. A mass will also be held at 13:30 in the church there.

Place: Martin
Venue: Museum of a Slovak Village (Múzeum slovenskej dediny)
Date: Dec 8
Time: 10:00 – 16:00
Admission: €4 (adults), under 6 free of charge, €2 (students, pensioners, over 6)

7) Why Are Slovaks Like That?

Every nation is formed by its history, but how has history shaped the Slovak personality in particular? Experts will take part in a panel discussion in Trnava. Canadian Naomi Hužovičová will moderate the discussion. She will be joined by Zuzana Palovič, author and founder of NGO Global Slovakia, and Jana Hoffstadter, who is publishing a comic series about the Velvet Revolution.

Place: Trnava
Venue: Kubik
Date: Dec 11
Time: 18:00 – 20:00
Admission: free

8) VIBE fest

Subtitled as New Wave of Party, this one-day music festival will bring the best of the Slovak and Czech rap scene to Košice, including Ego, Yzomandias, Nerieš, Nik Tendo, Porsche Boy, and DJ NOBODYLISTEN.

Place: Košice
Venue: Sports Centre on 2 Alejová Street
Date: Dec 20
Time: 18:00 – 4:00
Admission: from €14,90. Purchase a ticket here.

9) 90 Years of Slovak Ice-Hockey

The Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee - Slovak Olympic and Sports Museum and the Slovak Ice Hockey Association invite everyone to an exhibition at the Poprad museum on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of ice-hockey being professionally played and organised in Slovakia. The exhibition will include items that document the history and greatest achievements of Slovak hockey, e.g. Olympic medals and medals from world championships.

Place: Poprad
Venue: Podtatranské Museum
Date: until January 16, 2020
Time: 9:00 – 16:00
Admission: €2 (adults), €1 (students, pensioners, children)

10) New Year's Eve Run

Finish off 2019 by taking part in a run that will start at the University of Economics in Bratislava and will pass through Bratislava bridges over the Danube River. You can register here (until Dec 27) or at the university from 8:30 until 9:15. The event will soon appear on the STaRZ's Facebook page.

Place: Bratislava
Venue: University of Economics, Bratislava bridges
Date: December 31
Time: from 10:00
Admission: €10 or €8 (over 62, under 18) - online; €13 or €10 (over 62, under 18) - on the site

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