May Day traditions in Slovakia

Friends, May 1 is an official day off in Slovakia 🗓️ Be careful, because most institutions and stores will be closed.

But in addition to celebrating International Workers’ Day, there is another curious spring tradition in Slovakia that dates back to the 6th-7th century.

🌲 The symbol of this period is the May tree “máj”. Previously, it represented love and vitality. A long fir, spruce, birch, or pine tree was peeled off the bark and branches, leaving only the green top. Then they were decorated with various paper and cloth ribbons.

Such trees were placed under the window of the unmarried girl they liked. A kind of display of severe interest and admiration for beauty. If a wreath was put on the tree, it was tantamount to a declaration of love and readiness to marry the girl 💍.

Also, máj were placed in front of their homes as protection against evil spirits, and diseases and for a good harvest 🌽

Over time, the tradition has been transformed but survived. Nowadays the máj is usually placed in the center of a town or city district. This has a symbolic meaning and is accompanied by folk festivities.

The timing and characteristics of tree planting vary from one region of Slovakia to another. In some regions, the event takes place as early as the end of April, while in others, it may be as late as May. We recommend paying attention to this event in order to get acquainted with Slovak traditions 😉

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