Weekend: Ježiško's Christmas Post Office is open, expecting letters from around the world

Make yourself comfortable and explore what has been going on in Slovakia in the past days.

Trenčín covered in Christmas lights on November 29, 2021.Trenčín covered in Christmas lights on November 29, 2021. (Source: TASR/Radovan Stoklasa)

A winter date with animals or swimming in Orava. A made-up story about the well-known Danish author features in the roundup too. First, here comes a message from the Christmas Post Office.



CHRISTMAS

Letter to Ježiško

It is time again to share stories and secret wishes with Ježiško (Baby Jesus) ahead of Christmas so that he can make them come true.

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He has been receiving letters from children for several months now. The first letters came from Slovakia and as far away as China and Hong Kong.

Children have until December 17 to write a letter or a postcard. They can even attach a drawing to the letter and send it stamped to Slovakia’s only Christmas Post Office located in the village of Rajecká Lesná, not far from Žilina. Apart from their own address, they also need to know Ježiško’s address: Ježiško 999 99. The postcard can be sent online too.

Moreover, every drawing on a separate paper sent to Ježiško has a chance to appear on next year’s children’s Christmas stamps.

Last year, Ježiško received 93,208 letters. As many as 1,417 of them were sent from 41 countries, including Mexico and Japan. Rest assured that you can write a letter in Slovak, English or even in Braille. And if you happen to be in Rajecká Lesná, pay a visit to the post office.

You can learn more about the Rajec region in our travel podcast episode published in the summer.

Zoo: Bratislava Zoo offers Christmas dates with animals.

Wine: Pezinok is the town where Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová comes from, but it is better known as a wine-making hub. Explore the town.

Winter swimming: Orava region is an extraordinary place for a number of winter-swimming spots. Here is a list of popular swimming spots in the north of Slovakia.


ART

New gallery in a church

The attic of the St Egidius Church in Poprad has been transformed into a small gallery.

Twelve unique pictures show visitors the original equipment of the church and what Poprad looked like in the 19th century, including the second-oldest portrayal of Poprad Square from 1886.

“In addition, the gallery contains the only known photograph of the original Baroque statue of St. Egidius, which once stood on the south side of the church,” Rastislav Ovšonka, who organised the gallery opening, told the TASR newswire.

In the process of creating the gallery, almost four tonnes of unnecessary material were removed from the attic, and old metal doors were also found there.

Other developments from this week:

  • A US journal used a Slovak astronomer’s hair photo as its cover in November.
  • Kino Lumière, a well-known cinema in Bratislava, marks ten years of existence.
  • Slovak Film Week takes place online until December 5. Do not miss out on the film Servants, which will be screened on the Saturday evening.
  • Mareena, a Bratislava-based NGO that assists foreigners integrating in Slovakia, has started a social café, but it needs people to financially support the project.
  • The LEAF Academy Essay Competition is still open to all Slovak students aged 14 to 19. See topics for this year.

MUSIC

Jewish songs

During their migration to Eastern Europe in the late Middle Ages, Ashkenazi Jews also settled on the territory of what is today Slovakia in the hope of a better future. The legacy of their colourful culture, reflected in all levels of art, is now told through a new record titled Jewish Songs.

Traditional Jewish songs were recorded by the ZOE Chamber Orchestra and singer Juraj Adamuščin. The new album consists of twelve compositions adapted for a string orchestra by Slovak composers Adrián Harvan, Gregor Regeš and Peter Zagar.

The album, for example, includes four interludes by Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch that were written in the 1920s. The songs Hinter Den Vigale and Bin Ikh Mir Shoyn Vider have survived thanks to Oto Šimko, who sang and played them on the piano to Adamuščin. He learnt them in 1943 at a labour camp in Vyhne, central Slovakia, from a Polish teacher.

“The songs are very sensitive. It often happens that people shed a tear when they listen to them, even if they do not fully understand what the particular lyrics are about,” Adamuščin told Hudba.sk.

Festival: The popular summer music festival Grape will move from Piešťany to the airport in Trenčín, where the bigger music festival Pohoda is also held, for two years. Later, the event should be held outside Trnava.


WEEKEND READS

Andersen’s visit to Bratislava happened, but ...

People have been tricked into believing that Hans Christian Andersen found a girl selling matches in Bratislava inspiring him to write a tale about her. The made-up story has circulated in the media to date.

Andersen did not see much of Bratislava during his two-hour stop in the city, let alone the girl with matches. The Danish writer was the object of fabulation across the globe. In his native Denmark, the myth that he was the son of a Danish king spread.

The bigger problem is that the translations of Andersen's stories, in Slovakia and elsewhere, have been done very freely and, as a result, the style and tone of his fairy tales have been changed. The cheap Disneyfication of his work is also a problem.

“Because his tales became so popular among people, everyone thinks they can do whatever they want with them,” said Assistant Professor of Nordic Studies Helena Březinová.

MORE LOCKDOWN READS FOR YOU

  • The Waydanovský House, now Martineum, will serve as the background facility for St Martin’s Cathedral. Take a look at how it looked in the past and now.
  • Get to know the stories of Radostina Doganova and Krasimir Karailiev, two Bulgarians living in Slovakia. While Karailiev was born and raised in Slovakia in a Bulgarian way, Doganova moved to Bratislava 25 years ago.

That is it for now. Stay healthy, stay safe. Have a great weekend! – Peter

Do you have any tips? You can reach Peter at peter.dlhopolec@spectator.sk

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