Eastern Slovakia
Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn Genealogical Research

Christmas Eve Traditions

The Christmas Eve dinner was a very formal affair. All foods were prepared and placed on the table.

Everyone took their places and after an opening prayer, we all sat and ate the standard Slovak foods and had the Oplatky and honey etc.

We had candles lit at the beginning and throughout the meal. No One was permitted to leave the table until the meal and all formalities were completed. To do so would result in bad luck (ie: early departure from this world).

After everyone had eaten their fill, one of the candles was selected and passed to the oldest person to blow out. If the smoke went up, the person would have good fortune and be around for next years dinner. If the smoke went down, bad luck would follow and the person would not be at the table next year.

The candle was then relit and passed to the next oldest person to blow out. This continued until all persons had blown out the candle. After this ceremony, a final prayer was said by the head of the house and then people could safely leave the table.

I remember with a little fear that the smoke would go down on someone or even me, but that never seemed to happen.

As info, we continue this tradition (Superstition ??) in our family and my children continue the tradition along with the traditional Slovak foods and Oplatky and Honey.


Andrew Verostko

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