The people of Slovakia are descended from the Slavic peoples who settled the Danube river basin in the 6th and 7th centuries B.C.E. Traditionally, the Slovak people were relegated to the peasant class and even after emancipation they have had strong links to tilling the soil. Under communism some industrialization was undertaken and today Slovak society includes both elements of folk traditions and modern society. The political transformations of 1989 brought new freedoms that have considerably widened the societal outlook of the populace, yet many of the cultural movements are still in their infancy and consequently a large part of the elderly population is still rural and dependant on agriculture.
On January 1, 1993 Slovakia became an independent nation-state, recognized by the United Nations and its member states. Although some aspects of the society already had a unique national character, namely the language, many of the customs, laws and conventions were still deeply influenced by past rulers: Czechs, Hungarians and the Austrian Habsburgs. However the deep traditions, some dating back hundreds of years, of the Slovak people underlie the apparent nascency of the Slovak Republic.
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Slovak Issues and the Diaspora
The Slovak Republic consists of about 85% ethnic Slovaks, who are a Slavic peoples. A significant portion of the population, about one tenth, is ethnic Hungarian, who are descended from Finno-Ugric and Turkish tribes. This population is mainly concentrated on the border with Hungary, especially in the South West. Other minorities, such as Czechs, Romanies (Gypsy is the derogative term), Ruthenians, Germans, Ukrainians, Poles and Jews also have smaller representations throughout the land and comprise the last 5% of the total population.
May - Festival of Puppets, Poprad
Jun - Eurofolklore (international folklore festival), Banska Bystrica
Jun - Jul - Zvolen Castle Drama and Opera Festival
Jul - International Folk Festival, Vychodna
Jul - European Exhibition of Folk Craft, Kezmarok
Aug - International Festival of Historical Fencing, Spis Castle
Aug - Sept - Bratislava Music Festivities
Oct - Bratislava Jazz Days, Bratislava
Dec - Christmas Markets in most major cities