SASW Speakers’ Series: Slovak and Czech Christmas Traditions – Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Slovak American Society of Washington, DC
“Slovak and Czech Christmas Traditions”
Dr. Gabriela Bereghazyová and Dr. Zuzana Palovič of Global Slovakia 
Sunday, December 13, 1:00pm EDT

In the heart of Europe, Christmas folklore and customs speak of a distant past, mystical ancestry, and a wholesome life and values. Slovak and Czech Christmas traditions merge the Christian and the pagan, the old and the new, the seen and the unseen. They hold the key to unlocking the depth and breadth of our rich heritage and profound wisdom. They speak to us of who we really are, and they are filled with respect for our roots and for those who came before us.

This talk will present stories of known, unknown, peculiar, and touching customs. These customs are colored with humor, sentiment, and memories, and will be brought to life by our speakers.

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Gabriela Bereghazyová is a scholar, expert on corruption, published author, and storyteller. She completed a degree in Traditional Slovak Culture in Slovakia before continuing her education at prestigious British universities. Gabriela’s insight into folklore and culture merges with rigorous research and storytelling. Her broad perspective comes through in her unique work, which includes courses, webinars, talks, and books. Gabriela has spent much time living, working, and studying abroad, which allows her to present Slovakia’s complex heritage and history in a fresh and accessible way.

Zuzana Palovič is the daughter of Slovak emigrants. Born behind the Iron Curtain, she and her family fled the communist regime as political refugees and became naturalized citizens of Canada. Having spent her early childhood in the East, she was raised and educated in the West, receiving a PhD in the United Kingdom. Zuzana has lived in nine countries on four continents, but found that her cosmopolitan lifestyle did nothing to erode her love for Slovakia. Instead, it strengthened her hunger to re-discover her roots and reconnect with her homeland. From science to mythology, from business to folklore, Zuzana has actively researched how the past has shaped Slovakia’s present.