Customs & Traditions

In the course of the year, we have many opportunities for celebrations. We celebrate the birthday, name day, wedding, the christening of one of our relatives, graduation, and many other events.

On this occasion, we toast to the honored person who receives some presents, such as flowers, a box of chocolate, a book, a watch, or a ring.


On 1st January, people worldwide celebrate New Year’s Day together with New Year’s Eve on 31st December. There are huge crowds of cheerful people in the squares and streets, loud music, a lot of champagne and food.  People go to parties and balls, watch big fireworks, and welcome the upcoming new year. At midnight, people wish each other a Happy New Year. People make New Year’s resolutions and promise to change or improve their lives.


On 6th January, 12 days after Christmas, we celebrate Three King‘s Day.


On 14th February, it is Valentine’s Day. It’s the day of all lovers and friends. We send Valentine postcards or messages to each other, buy some sweets and chocolate in the shape of a heart. The lovers write some short poems such as:
„I’ll be your sweetheart, and I’ll be your Valentine“ or “ Roses are red violets are blue, you are my Valentine, I love you.”


St. Patrick’s Day is on 17th March. It is the most significant Irish holiday also spread into the USA. This holiday is named after Saint Patrick – the Irish Patron who brought Christianity to Ireland. People are dressed in green, drink Guinness, and have fun. There are colorful parades in towns and cities in Ireland and the USA.


On 1st April, it is All Fools‘ Day. On this day, people make some jokes and play a trick on their friends.


We celebrate Easter at the end of March or at the very beginning of April. It is the biggest Christian holiday of the year, and it lasts several days. We start this holiday with:

  • Maundy Thursday / Holy Thursday
  • Good Friday – we commemorate Jesus Crucifixion
  • Easter Sunday – we commemorate Jesus Resurrection
  • Easter Monday – this day is very special in Slovakia, because men are visiting the houses of young girls, whip them with fresh-cut decorated wickers and sprinkle water on them. It is sad that girls will be healthy and strong all year-round. 

Easter symbols are symbols of new life. Here belong: 

  • Easter lamb,
  • Easter chickens,
  • Easter eggs,
  • catkins,
  • Easter bunnies.

On the table, we can see various kinds of smoked cheeseham, and potato salad.


Mother’s Day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in May.

On this day, all mothers are honoured. It is a special day to express how much you love your mom. We buy them a bunch of flowers, a bar of chocolate or a small present.


Independence Day is on 4th July, celebrated in the USA. On this day, all Americans commemorate the Declaration of Independence from 1776. The declaration was adopted by thirteen American colonies that gained independence from the British. It is a day of fireworks, parties, and people dress in national colours, decorated with national flags.


Halloween is on 31st October. People decorate their houses in the scariest ways with spider webs, coffins, bats, witches, ghosts, candles, goblins, skeletons, and of course, carved pumpkins.

Its origin goes back to the Celts, who believed that the spirits of the dead would come to their houses and take over their bodies on that day. Therefore, they disguised themselves with animal heads and skins to cheat or confuse them.

Nowadays, children go from house to house, knocking on doors saying ‘Trick-or-treat.’ which means if you don´t give them a treat, they will play a trick on you.

People are dressed up in fancy dress costumes and go to parties to have fun.


All Saints‘ Day is on 1st November, and All Souls’ Day is on 2nd November. This holiday is more or less connected with going to cemeteries/ graveyards, decorating graves with beautiful flowers, people light candles and pray for their deceased relatives who rest in peace = RIP.


Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday in November. It is the oldest American holiday. It was first celebrated in the 17th century after the first successful harvest, which helped people to survive the winter. The settlers celebrated their harvest and thanked God for his bounty. Now it is the day when whole families gather and enjoy themselves and good food. There is a stuffed turkey on every table. 


Saint Nicholas Day is on 6th December. On this day, Saint Nicholas, an Angel, and a Devil come to the children. Children have to sing a song, say a poem, or pray. Good children get fruits and sweets, and naughty children get coal and potatoes.


Everyone looks forward to the most beautiful Christian holiday of the year, the holiday of calm and peace. During this holiday, we celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus. It is the time for our family and friends, the time of exchanging some gifts. 

Symbols of Christmas:

  • Christmas tree,
  • Christmas decorations,
  • Christmas lights,
  • Christmas wreath,
  • Christmas carols,
  • sparklers,
  • special meals,
  • Midnight Mass,
  • candles,
  • bells,
  • Nativity scene,
  • contributing to charities, 
  • benefit concerts.

In Slovakia, Christmas preparations are connected with cleaning households, baking gingerbread and other pastries, decorating houses with lights, and visiting Christmas markets. 

On 24th December – Christmas Eve, we put up a live or an artificial Christmas tree, sing or listen to Christmas carols, and prepare Christmas Eve´s dinner. The Christmas menu in Slovakia varies from region to region, but generally, it consists of:

  • Christmas toast,
  • wafers with honey,
  • sauerkraut soup,
  • fried carp and potato salad, homemade cakes.   

When we finish dinner, we go to the Christmas tree and unwrap the Christmas presents. At midnight we go to Midnight Mass at the nearest church.

On 25th December, it is Christmas Day.

On 26th  December, Boxing day, on this day, relatives visit each other. In the past, servants and salespeople got presents, usually money, from the gentry. These presents became known as Christmas boxes (servants and salespeople carried boxes in the streets to get tips).


We decorate our Christmas tree in the morning on December 24th and listen to Christmas carols. Before Christmas dinner, we pray together. At the very beginning of dinner, we eat Christmas wafers with honey. Our typical Christmas dinner consists of sauerkraut soup and fried carp with potato salad. When we finish dinner, our father rings the bell to tell us that our presents are already under the Christmas tree. After that, we go carolling to our relatives’ houses, and at midnight, we go to our local church for Midnight Mass.



At a wedding, two people who are getting married are the bride and the groom. The bride has the bridesmaids and the groom his best man. A few days before the wedding ceremony, the husband-to-be gives a party for his male friends. It is called a stag party /a stag night. The wife-to-be gives a party for her female friends, and it is called a hen party/a hen night. A wedding ceremony is a formal act that can be religious – in a church. It is a church wedding / white wedding with a priest. It can also be a civil wedding – in the town hall at a registry office with the mayor. The engaged couple exchanges their wedding rings and promise to live together in good and bad times.  After the wedding, friends and relatives are invited to a wedding reception with a layered wedding cake. Then the newlyweds go on a honeymoon.


Sometimes families meet at a very sad occasion. When someone dies, the body is put into a coffin. At the funeral, the body may be cremated or buried in a cemetery /graveyard. The grave is marked with a gravestone. The widow or the widower together with close relatives are mourning for their beloved who R.I.P.(Rest In Peace)

Here you can find some exercises that help you strengthen newly gained knowledge related to the topic ‘Customs and Traditions.’ The first part of this section consists of exercises mainly focused on the key vocabulary. The second part contains challenging tasks that include vocabulary, grammar, language in use, and reading comprehension.

Remember you can read the topic or watch the video at any time.

Break a leg!


1. New Year’s Eve [njuː jɪə´ɛs iːv] skSilvester
2. cheerful people [ˈʧɪəfʊl ˈpiːpl] skveselí ľudia
3. upcoming [ˌʌpˈkʌmɪŋ] sknastávajúci, prichádzajúci
4. Christmas carols [ˈkrɪsməs ˈkærəlz] skvianočné koledy
5. to commemorate [tuː kəˈmɛməreɪt] skuctiť si pamiatku, pripomenúť si
6. to disguise [tuː dɪsˈɡaɪz] skzamaskovať sa
7. Epiphany [ɪˈpɪfəni] sksviatok Troch kráľov
8. gentry [ˈʤɛntri] skzámožná vrstva, panstvo
9. Good Friday [ɡʊd ˈfraɪdeɪ] skVeľký piatok
10. Holy Thursday [ˈhəʊli ˈθɜːzdeɪ] / Maundy Thursday [ˈmɔːndi ˈθɜːzdeɪ] skzelený štvrtok
11. resolution [ˌrɛzəˈluːʃᵊn] skpredsavzatie
12. New Year´s resolution [njuː jɪə´ɛs ˌrɛzəˈluːʃᵊn] sknovoročné predsavzatie
13. to survive [tuː səˈvaɪv] skprežiť
14. trick or treat [tuː səˈvaɪv] skDajte nám odmenu lebo vám niečo vyvedieme. (detská koleda počas Halloweenu)
15. wafers [ˈweɪfəz] skoblátky
16. harvest [ˈhɑːvɪst] skúroda
17. coffin [ˈkɒfɪn] sktruhla
18. witch [wɪʧ] skčarodejnica
19. skeleton [ˈskɛlɪtn] skkostra
20. bounty [ˈbaʊnti] skštedrosť
21. gather [ˈɡæðə] skzhromaždiť sa, stretnúť sa
22. thank somebody [θæŋk ˈsʌmbədi] skďakovať niekomu
23. devil [ˈdɛvl] skčert
24. sparkles [ˈspɑːklz] skprskavky

customs & traditions

25. wreath [riːθ] skveniec (vianočný, adventný…)
26. Boxing Day [ˈbɒksɪŋ deɪ] skSv. Štefan /čný
27. groom [ɡrʊm] skženích
28. bridesmaids [ˈbraɪdzmeɪdz] skdružičky
29. best man [bɛst mæn] skdružba
30. bride [braɪd] sknevesta
31. stag party [stæɡ ˈpɑːti] sklúčenie so slobodou (muž)
32. hen party [hɛn ˈpɑːti] sklúčenie so slobodou (žena)
33. priest [priːst] skkňaz
34. mayor [meə] skstarosta, primátor
35. town hall [taʊn hɔːl] skobecný úrad, radnica
36. registry office [ˈrɛʤɪstri ˈɒfɪs] skmatrika
37. layered wedding cake [leəd ˈwɛdɪŋ keɪk] skposchodová torta
38. newlyweds [ˈnjuːlɪˌwɛdz] skmladomanželia
39. honeymoon [ˈhʌnɪmuːn] sksvadobná cesta
40. husband-to-be [ˈhʌzbənd-tu:-bi] sknastávajúci
41. wife-to-be [waɪf-tu:-bi] sknastávajúca
42. Christmas Eve [ˈkrɪsməs iːv] skŠtedrý večer
43. fireworks [ˈfaɪəwɜːks] skohňostroj
44. Christmas markets [ˈkrɪsməs ˈmɑːkɪts] skvianočné trhy
45. crucifixion [ˌkruːsɪˈfɪkʃᵊn] skukrižovanie
46. Easter [ˈiːstə] skVeľká noc
47. fancy dress [ˈfænsi drɛs] skmaškarný kostým
48. gingerbread [ˈʤɪnʤəbrɛd] skmedovník

Christmas markets

49. grave [ɡreɪv] skhrob
50. Holy Mass [ˈhəʊli mæs] sksvätá omša
51. resurrection [ˌrɛzəˈrɛkʃᵊn] skvzkriesenie
52. servant [ˈsɜːvənt] sksluha
53. to take over [tu: teɪk ˈəʊvə] skprevziať kontrolu
54. to unwrap [tu: ʌnˈræp] skrozbaliť niečo
55. willow whip [ˈwɪləʊ wɪp] skkorbáč z vŕby
56. to play a trick on [tu: pleɪ ə trɪk ɒn] skrobiť si žarty z…
57. catkins [ˈkætkɪnz] skbahniatka
58. bat [bæt] sknetopier
59. goblin [ˈɡɒblɪn] skškriatok
60. curved pumpkin [kɜːvd ˈpʌmpkɪn] skvyrezávaná tekvica
61. settlers [ˈsɛtləz] skusadlíci, osídlenci
62. stuffed turkey [stʌft ˈtɜːki] skplnený moriak
63. angel [ˈeɪnʤəl] skanjel
64. naughty [ˈnɔːti] skneposlušný
65. candle [ˈkændl] sksviečka
66. sauerkraut soup [ˈsaʊəkraʊt suːp] skkapustnica
67. widow [ˈwɪdəʊ] skvdova
68. widower [ˈwɪdəʊə] skvdovec
69. to mourn [tuː mɔːn] sksmútiť
70. R.I.P – Rest In Peace [rɛst ɪn piːs] skodpočívaj v pokoji
71. funeral [ˈfjuːnərəl] skpohreb
72. to bury [tuː ˈbɛri] skpochovať

St. Patrick's Day
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