Society

Slovak Society

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.

Browse these specific categories:

Sport | Entertainment | Miscellaneous (Language, Food etc.) | Slovak Genealogy

Or read about other more general issues:

Slovak Issues and the Diaspora

Slovak Americans

The Slavs

Who are the Slavs?

Minorities in Slovakia

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.

Hungarians:

Jews:

Roma (Gypsies):

Ruthenians:

Special Events

Most towns have their own folk festivals, with dancing, local costumes and food. These tend to be in the summer months leading up to the harvest festivals in September. The following is a selection of cultural events celebrated annually in the Slovak Republic. (photo right: traditional folk dancing ensemble)