Tag Archives: slovakia

Here’s One Unusual Easter tradition you might not expect!

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Easter is just around the corner and some households have already got their eggs in the fridge!

Many cultures all around the world celebrate Easter, but all add a unique flavor to them. Russians paint Faberge eggs and bake sweet Kulich bread, and the city of Krakow goes all out with a festive Easter market.

Easter is all about eggs and chocolate these days, but did you know that some cultures celebrate Easter with water?

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Yes! Water symbolizes the holy baptism and has been associated with the Easter holidays for centuries.

In Poland, Easter Monday a.k.a. Dyngus Day is the holy day when people attempt to drench each other in water. No method is exempt from this madness—hoses, buckets of water, and squirt guns are all employed. Traditionally, boys used to drench the girls, in a fun and odd flirtation ritual, but these days it tends to be all-egalitarian. The playful custom dates back to the Middle Ages, when Christianity came to Poland (966 c.e.) following the baptism of Prince Mieszko and by extension his whole nation.

This tradition is also found in eastern parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, usually in the form of an ice-cold bucket. The custom has modified slightly these days to an all-day water fight among families and neighbors.

In some houses in Lithuania, folks sprinkle all corners of the house or gardens with holy water on Easter Sunday.

Do you celebrate Easter? Where are the holidays taking you this Easter Sunday? Tell us in the comments!

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Filed under Europe, Poland

Christmas in Europe

Christmas is a magical time in Europe, when cities bloom in soft lights and decorations abound along windows and roads. And it’s never too early to think about spending holidays with your loved ones  abroad. These three capitals know how to do Christmas right.

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Christmas Market at Schonbrunn Palace, flickr CC Otto Schlappack

VIENNA

The weeks from late November to the end of the year transform Austria into a special wonderland. Charming Christmas Markets pop up in historic town centers, the smells of Glühwein (mulled wine) float through the air, and young and old taste their way through roasted chestnuts to yummy Christmas sweets. Be enchanted by the Kunstkammer, Vienna’s realm of overwhelming gold, bronze and ivory pieces—and don’t forget to stop by the Christmas Market just in front. Need inspiration for gifts? In Vienna’s city center, the elegant store Österreichische Werkstätten offers a wide selection of handmade products such as jewelry, glass design, furniture and accessories. The Museums Quartier in Vienna becomes synonymous with a different kind of Christmas atmosphere. Just think ice pavilions, artistic light installations, DJ sounds, ice curling rink, and fun Punch variations!

Two hours south of Vienna, the city of Graz also turns into one giant Christmas spectacular. Glowing decorations, a massive ice crib, and a gigantic Advent calendar projection are just the beginning. Did you know the carol Silent Night originated in the small village of Oberndorf near Salzburg. Visit the humble and most charming chapel where the story began.

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Zagreb’s Ilica Street, flickr CC rom@nski photo

ZAGREB

Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia, is a time of festivities and food. Stands crop up everywhere in the city, selling goodies and delicacies certain to delight. Wrap your fingers around a steaming cup of mulled wine, grab seasonal candies and take home some special wooden toys and ornaments as souvenirs. Often bands will set up to play a few traditional tunes under the frosty lights. In recent years, Croatia has seen a reemergence of open-air ice skating, and in December rinks are installed near the main train station and King Tomislav’s Square. It’s truly a magical time in Zagreb!

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Christmas Market in Bratislava, Flickr CC fortysix_vie

BRATISLAVA

The Slovakian capital of Bratislava’s many historic buildings are testaments to the country’s intriguing history. Travelers can tour the Old Town, with landmarks such as Roland Fountain and the Old Town Hall, and stop by an outdoor market to sample traditional dishes, such as grilled sheep cheese, dumplings and the Bratislavsky rozok, or sweet roll.

Chat with us about spending your holidays abroad. Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Filed under Travel by Holiday