Foreign Slovaks Day is observed on July 5 every year. The day honors the memory of Slovaks who left their homeland for different reasons and at different times. This holiday also falls on the Roman Catholic holiday devoted to Saints Cyril and Methodius, two Byzantine brothers who spread Christianity among the Slavic peoples as missionaries.
This holiday is celebrated not only in Slovakia; in Slovak communities around the world, people celebrate Foreign Slovaks Day as a way to stay in touch with their homeland. So wherever you are, no matter what country you live in, you can always join in the celebration.
History of Foreign Slovaks Day
The origins of the holiday date back to 1880, when Pope Leo XIII established the feast of St. Cyril and Methodius as a Roman Catholic holiday. Although the Day of Foreign Slovaks is not a religious holiday, it was purposefully celebrated on this holiday due to the great missionary work of these two saints.
Cyril and Methodius are two brothers who were Byzantine Christian theologians and missionaries. For their work on the evangelization of the Slavs, they are also called “Apostles of the Slavs.” The brothers began the job that gave them historical significance in 862. That same year, Prince Rostislav of Great Moravia asked Emperor Michael III and Patriarch Photius to send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects. Later in 863, they began the task of translating the Gospels and the necessary liturgical books into the language now known as Old Slavonic and went to Great Moravia to promote it. The brothers have had considerable success in this regard. For this mission, they developed the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used for Slavic manuscripts. Glagolitic corresponded to the peculiarities of the Slavic language. His descendant script, Cyrillic, is still used in many languages.
The brothers wrote the first Slavic Civil Code used in Great Moravia. The Old Slavonic language, known as Church Slavonic, is still used in the liturgy by several Orthodox churches, as well as by some Eastern Catholic churches. It is impossible to determine what the brothers translated. It seems that the first was the New Testament and the Psalms and then followed the other commandments of the Old Testament.
Foreign Slovaks Day was established by the Slovak Parliament and coincided with the laying of a memorial stone, memorial of Slovak emigration, in Bratislava, in 2000.
Foreign Slovaks Day timeline
They are mentioned in the document Grande Munus of Leo XIII.
Cyril and Methodius preach the Gospel throughout Europe.
It’s the beginning of the construction of this outstanding memorial.
The holiday, Foreign Slovaks Day, is established.
Foreign Slovaks Day FAQs
Where is Foreign Slovaks Day celebrated?
Foreign Slovaks Day, or the Day of Slovaks Living Abroad, is celebrated in Slovakia.
Is Foreign Slovaks Day a public holiday?
It’s not a public holiday, but it can be a day off, as it falls on the same date as St. Cyril and Methodius.
Who are the Slovaks?
Slovaks are a West Slavic ethnic group, a nation living in Slovakia and speaking Slovak.
How to Observe Foreign Slovaks Day
Visit Sad Janka Kráľa Park
The main celebration of this holiday always takes place in this park because there is the famous Memorial of Slovak Emigration. It is also a good opportunity to visit Slovakia.
Go to the fair
Fairs and other cultural events are usually held on this day. One of the most famous fairs is the Lower Lands Fair. Do not miss the chance to make a pilgrimage to Devin Castle!
Share the story
If you can’t go to Slovakia, celebrate the day on social media. Publish stories with words of support and wishes, watch stories from Slovakia, and chat with Slovaks.
5 Facts About Slovakia That Will Blow Your Mind
It has more than 6,000 caves
The most impressive caves can be found in the Low Tatras, Slovak Paradise, and Slovak Karst National Parks.
Its capital borders two independent countries
Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is on the border with Austria and Hungary.
The geographical midpoint of Europe
It is located near the village of Kremnické Bane in Slovakia, close to the Church of St. John the Baptist.
It’s a paradise for tourists
There are nine national parks and 14 protected landscape areas, and spectacular places such as wild canyons, the Low Tatras with lush alpine meadows, and beautiful valleys in Little Fatra and Pieniny.
There are more than 1,300 mineral springs
Most of these incredible sources of mineral water and healing thermal springs are actively used for medical and health purposes.
Why Foreign Slovaks Day is Important
It has a long history
Slovaks began to emigrate in the 1700s. There were plenty of reasons for that. In particular, the cholera epidemic, the massive crop failures, the difficulties associated with the advent of industrialization, the land shortage, and the campaign of forced Madarization.
It’s a reminder of home
Wherever you are, you must not forget who you are and where you come from. For Slovaks living abroad, this is a day to remember their country and not separate from it.
A day for unity
This holiday symbolizes the unity of all Slovaks, regardless of their place of residence. Slovaks living abroad should know that they are remembered in their homeland and will be happy to welcome them back.
Foreign Slovaks Day dates