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Re: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions

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  • nhasior@aol.com
    I remember ember days in the past but cannot recall exactly what they were. Noreen [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 3, 2004
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      I remember ember days in the past but cannot recall exactly what they were.
      Noreen


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jan Ammann
      Hello......I do remember part of what happened during the blessing for my sister and her future husband. It was for the parents to give permission for their
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 3, 2004
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        Hello......I do remember part of what happened during the blessing for my sister and her future husband. It was for the parents to give permission for their children to marry. My sister and her bridegroom kneeled on the floor in front of the priest. My parents stood behind my sister and and the priest asked if they give permission for this couple to wed. Of course, they said yes. Then they asked the same of the bridgrooms parents. Then there were some prayers.

        Of course, my future brother-in-law saw my sister in her wedding dress but I guess traditions were different back then.

        Aloysia

        Janet Kozlay <kozlay@...> wrote:
        I found a similar but not identical custom in a description of Ukrainian
        weddings, where the blessing was given by the couple's parents:

        �My two sisters and I were married in the Ukrainian tradition, in a
        Ukrainian Catholic church in Detroit. One of the most poignant traditions is
        the blessings of the parents. The young couple, before the marriage ceremony
        meet at the bride's home to receive a blessing from the parents. They kneel
        before both sets of parents and ask their blessing and permission to marry.
        After the permission is given, the couple's wrists are tied by the parents
        (one arm each) with an embroidered rushnyk. This is when most everyone
        begins to cry...."

        I found a similar description of parents' blessings in the morning in Polish
        weddings.

        A description of Slovak wedding traditions says that on the morning of the
        wedding the bride and groom each, in their own homes, ask forgiveness from
        their parents for any wrongs they may have done them and ask for their
        blessing. This also seems to have been the case in Rusyn weddings.

        I have found no such descriptions of morning blessings, either from a priest
        or from the parents, for Hungarian households.

        There are many wedding traditions that do seem to cross ethnic lines in
        Central European countries, probably the most important of which was the
        trading of the bride's wedding wreath for a married woman's head covering.

        Janet


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Jan Ammann [mailto:janammann@...]
        Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 11:32 AM
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions


        Hello Everyone.....I have read this post with great interest. And would
        like to ask a question about ethnic/religious traditions or customs. My
        background is Moravian, Austrian-Hungarian, and German. I am catholic and
        as a child when we went to church as a family, the men all sat on the right
        hand side and the women and children sat on the left hand side. This would
        be in the 1940's here in Texas. It then changed throughtout the years but I
        am not sure of the change date. Of course, my parents and my grandparents
        and aunts and uncles all spoke Moravian as did we children in those days.
        My grandmother would always say "Ti se Moravian" (no accent marks as they
        mess up the email sometimes) when someone would say we were czech or
        bohemian. She was very firm about this. To her, I suppose, being called
        something other than Moravian was not proper. We were all raised to be
        proud of our Moravian heritage. Of course, we all learned english also and
        by the time we went to school,
        moravian was ignored by all of us children and the older members of the
        family only spoke in moravian to each other. We even prayed in Moravian in
        our country church. We actually switched between latin and Moravian. The
        Our Father and Hail Mary was always in Moravian.

        This also was a country parish which was rather small. I can still remember
        the church with its white beadboard walls.......its beautiful gothic shaped
        stained windows which opened to the outside (no AC in those days).
        Sometimes, birds flew across the altar and we even saw mice scattering
        across the wooden floor at times. The statues were magnificent and they are
        the very same ones that are in the catholic church (polish community) where
        I attend today.

        We had lent.........we had ember days.........so much that is no longer. Of
        course, Lent is still in the church but the ember days are gone. The mass
        was in latin as were our prayer books. Also,,,,,when my older sister was
        married (early 1950's) the priest came to the house in the early morning.
        My mother draped a white sheet on the walls in one corner of our small
        living room and my sister, in her wedding dress, and her husband to be,
        kneeled there, surrounded by the parents, the priest in the corner facing
        them. He gave a blessing to the couple and to the parents. Then, he went
        back to the church where we all followed later on. I am supposing that this
        also came over from the old country. I have never seen this blessing
        enacted since that day. It, too, has disappeared.

        So, this post brought back a lot of memories for me. But I do hope someone
        can comment on the way we sat in the church. I am wondering if this custom
        did not come over from the old homeland when my family arrived here in the
        USA. Perhaps the blessing also did.

        Many thanks to all you members who make this list so interesting.

        Cheers, Aloysia

        Vladimir Bohinc <konekta@...> wrote:
        Dear Bill,
        here http://www.cgsi.org/
        I thought, everybody knows that :-)
        Join!
        Best regards,
        Vladimir
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Bill Tarkulich
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 12:45 PM
        Subject: RE: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions


        Hi Vladimir,
        How and where can we go about obtaining the publications of " Nase
        Rodina"?
        It sounds like a good read.
        Regards,
        Bill


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Vladimir Bohinc [mailto:konekta@...]
        Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 2:44 AM
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions



        Dear Janet,
        I agree with everything, since these are more or less all facts. This is
        what one could count into Slavic culture. Since were are all Slavs, we
        have
        many things in common. Slavs in different cuntries ( in Europe)were
        naturally under influence of their master nations or neighbors, so you can
        find this in variations too. Villages or areas, which were awau from trade
        lines, were less exposed to such influences and kept their old customs
        longer. Many of the customs go far back into the pagan era, where there
        was
        no Christianity. Every village was and to a large extent still is a closed
        community, often with it's own, unwritten rules. A foreigner, or anyone
        "different' will have a hard time in it, unless he adopts and subdues. The
        most feared weapon is gossip. It can kill people softly, or drive them
        mad.
        Another weapon is envy.It destroys much of good or new. The book Bill is
        refering to I bought already a year or two ago. It describes wery much ,
        but
        I am not very happy with the language. It is too dry, without any spirit
        or
        soul. It is evident, that it was written by people, who were educated in
        the
        past communist regime, where a person was only a statistical item. The
        writers do not care much about the reader. I would have writte it
        differently. I will touch this subject later in my article for Nase
        Rodina.
        Regards, Vladimir


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Janet Kozlay
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 4:07 AM
        Subject: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions


        Bill, I would like to thank you for posting your excerpts from "Slovak
        Family Traditions," which I recall having read from a previous post of
        yours, as well as the remarkable Grisak autobiography.

        My own research in this area has led me to conclude that there was a
        fairly
        common culture among the peasants throughout Central Europe regardless
        of
        their particular ethnicity or language. Nearly everything in your
        excerpts
        and in the Grisak work is described in F�l and Hofer's "Proper
        Peasants,"
        though they go into much greater detail and in the case of the excerpts
        are
        far more readable. Their book, based on an intensive study of a single
        village on the Hungarian Plain, is widely available and fairly
        inexpensive.
        Descriptions I have read of the culture of Germans who migrated to
        Hungary
        also do not appear to differ materially. I suspect the same is true of
        the
        peasant culture of surrounding regions. One would expect some
        variations
        from area to area, and even village to village, but in my view the
        commonality of the customs and traditions is far more striking. Just
        one
        example is the custom of men sleeping in the stables, while the women
        and
        children slept in the house. Others include the courtship rituals of
        young
        men, the violence that often occurred when a young man courted a girl
        out
        of
        his community, the tradition of young men drinking and dancing till the
        wee
        hours until they married and settled down, and the pathetic position of
        daughters-in-law in a household.

        I am looking forward to Vladimir's contributions and would be very
        interested in learning if he agrees.

        Janet





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      • Jan Ammann
        Hello Mr. Brna........Thank you for remembering what I remember. And, like you, I don t remember exactly when it changed. Yes, we were always dressed up.
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 3, 2004
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          Hello Mr. Brna........Thank you for remembering what I remember. And, like you, I don't remember exactly when it changed. Yes, we were always dressed up. Daddy in a suit with all the accessories and a hat. My mother and my two sisters were equally done up in fou-fou-frilly type dresses with hats and gloves. Yes, gloves. The hats were usually the "bowler" type for us children with a ribbon hanging down the back part of the hat and touching our shoulders. Mother, however, had a more sedate hat....usually that sat on the top of her head and sometimes they came down on the sides. They were made of straw or velvet or some other fancy fabric........however, they all had a net that could be pulled down over the face.

          Yes, it was a fine tradition. And sometimes I wish we could ressurect it, at least for one Sunday. Our shoes were called Baby Janes with a strap across the top and we had one in black patent leather and one in white patent leather. We shined them with vaseline. I smile when I think of it now. My mother used to braid my hair so tight that I believe that is why I have big eyes. I looked perpetually startled. And if I dared to whimper as she braided she would just pull those braids tighter. Sometimes, we even polished our nails with polish. Nothing bright or glaring........a soft rose or pink. However, because my sister was the oldest, she always got away with fire engine red nails and toes.

          On Saturday night, mother would line up three enamel bowls of water on a bench either on the back porch (summertime) or in the kitchen when it was winter. The first bowl was where we leaned over and washed our hair. The second bowl was water to rinse the soap off. And the third bowl was also water to rinse but with a touch of vinegar added. I think that probably stripped off the last of the soap suds and our hair literally squeaked. Sometimes all three of us used the same bowls of water.

          And when bathing (in a #3 washtub) we also sometimes bathed after each other. Water had to be pumped and carried to the house and heated on the kerosene stove so we had to make do. We also did everything in birth order. My elder sister went first, then me, and finally, our baby sister. I often laugh and tease her because she has an olive skin whereas my older sister and I have a fair skin. I tell her it was because she had to end up using "the somewhat dirty water" and that is why she has the darker skin. Also, the darkest hair.

          I am sure this must sound strange to someone reading this who did not grow up in this type of environment but it was a wonderful way of life. The forties were war years and it was hard to make a living as farmers which our family was. As I grow older, I think of it more often and some of these lists do bring these memories back.

          I ask forgiveness of list members who may not consider this proper on a genealogy list, however, it was a family custom......how we lived.......what we did........and, of course, family is genealogy. So the circle becomes complete.

          Thank you for giving me this chance to reminisce.

          Aloysia

          William F Brna <wfbrna@...> wrote:
          I well remember the days when the men and women sat on opposite sides of
          the church. The women (and children) sat on the left, facing the Blessed
          Virgin's statue , and the men sat on the right, facing St. Joseph's
          statue. This was the custom, not only in the Slovak parish, but in the
          "Irish" parish where our family attended mass, when it was not convenient
          to travel to the Slovak parish (a seven mile trip). I also remember that
          everyone, men and women, dressed in their "Sunday best" when they went to
          mass. Not only did the men wear a suit, white shirt and tie, but they
          also wore hats. I don't know when the custom of sitting on opposite
          sides of the church was abandoned, but, as I recall, it was a gradual
          change.

          Bill Brna

          On Sun, 3 Oct 2004 09:32:18 -0700 (PDT) Jan Ammann
          <janammann@...> writes:
          >
          > Hello Everyone.....I have read this post with great interest. And
          > would like to ask a question about ethnic/religious traditions or
          > customs. My background is Moravian, Austrian-Hungarian, and German.
          > I am catholic and as a child when we went to church as a family,
          > the men all sat on the right hand side and the women and children
          > sat on the left hand side. This would be in the 1940's here in
          > Texas. It then changed throughtout the years but I am not sure of
          > the change date. Of course, my parents and my grandparents and aunts
          > and uncles all spoke Moravian as did we children in those days. My
          > grandmother would always say "Ti se Moravian" (no accent marks as
          > they mess up the email sometimes) when someone would say we were
          > czech or bohemian. She was very firm about this. To her, I suppose,
          > being called something other than Moravian was not proper. We were
          > all raised to be proud of our Moravian heritage. Of course, we all
          > learned english also and by the time we went to school,
          > moravian was ignored by all of us children and the older members of
          > the family only spoke in moravian to each other. We even prayed in
          > Moravian in our country church. We actually switched between latin
          > and Moravian. The Our Father and Hail Mary was always in Moravian.
          >
          > This also was a country parish which was rather small. I can still
          > remember the church with its white beadboard walls.......its
          > beautiful gothic shaped stained windows which opened to the outside
          > (no AC in those days). Sometimes, birds flew across the altar and
          > we even saw mice scattering across the wooden floor at times. The
          > statues were magnificent and they are the very same ones that are in
          > the catholic church (polish community) where I attend today.
          >
          > We had lent.........we had ember days.........so much that is no
          > longer. Of course, Lent is still in the church but the ember days
          > are gone. The mass was in latin as were our prayer books.
          > Also,,,,,when my older sister was married (early 1950's) the priest
          > came to the house in the early morning. My mother draped a white
          > sheet on the walls in one corner of our small living room and my
          > sister, in her wedding dress, and her husband to be, kneeled there,
          > surrounded by the parents, the priest in the corner facing them. He
          > gave a blessing to the couple and to the parents. Then, he went
          > back to the church where we all followed later on. I am supposing
          > that this also came over from the old country. I have never seen
          > this blessing enacted since that day. It, too, has disappeared.
          >
          > So, this post brought back a lot of memories for me. But I do hope
          > someone can comment on the way we sat in the church. I am wondering
          > if this custom did not come over from the old homeland when my
          > family arrived here in the USA. Perhaps the blessing also did.
          >
          > Many thanks to all you members who make this list so interesting.
          >
          > Cheers, Aloysia
          >
          > Vladimir Bohinc <konekta@...> wrote:
          > Dear Bill,
          > here http://www.cgsi.org/
          > I thought, everybody knows that :-)
          > Join!
          > Best regards,
          > Vladimir
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Bill Tarkulich
          > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 12:45 PM
          > Subject: RE: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions
          >
          >
          > Hi Vladimir,
          > How and where can we go about obtaining the publications of " Nase
          > Rodina"?
          > It sounds like a good read.
          > Regards,
          > Bill
          >
          >
          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Vladimir Bohinc [mailto:konekta@...]
          > Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 2:44 AM
          > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions
          >
          >
          >
          > Dear Janet,
          > I agree with everything, since these are more or less all facts.
          > This is
          > what one could count into Slavic culture. Since were are all
          > Slavs, we have
          > many things in common. Slavs in different cuntries ( in
          > Europe)were
          > naturally under influence of their master nations or neighbors, so
          > you can
          > find this in variations too. Villages or areas, which were awau
          > from trade
          > lines, were less exposed to such influences and kept their old
          > customs
          > longer. Many of the customs go far back into the pagan era, where
          > there was
          > no Christianity. Every village was and to a large extent still is
          > a closed
          > community, often with it's own, unwritten rules. A foreigner, or
          > anyone
          > "different' will have a hard time in it, unless he adopts and
          > subdues. The
          > most feared weapon is gossip. It can kill people softly, or drive
          > them mad.
          > Another weapon is envy.It destroys much of good or new. The book
          > Bill is
          > refering to I bought already a year or two ago. It describes wery
          > much , but
          > I am not very happy with the language. It is too dry, without any
          > spirit or
          > soul. It is evident, that it was written by people, who were
          > educated in the
          > past communist regime, where a person was only a statistical item.
          > The
          > writers do not care much about the reader. I would have writte it
          > differently. I will touch this subject later in my article for
          > Nase Rodina.
          > Regards, Vladimir
          >
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Janet Kozlay
          > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2004 4:07 AM
          > Subject: [S-R] Slovak Family Traditions
          >
          >
          > Bill, I would like to thank you for posting your excerpts from
          > "Slovak
          > Family Traditions," which I recall having read from a previous
          > post of
          > yours, as well as the remarkable Grisak autobiography.
          >
          > My own research in this area has led me to conclude that there
          > was a
          > fairly
          > common culture among the peasants throughout Central Europe
          > regardless of
          > their particular ethnicity or language. Nearly everything in
          > your
          > excerpts
          > and in the Grisak work is described in F�l and Hofer's "Proper
          > Peasants,"
          > though they go into much greater detail and in the case of the
          > excerpts
          > are
          > far more readable. Their book, based on an intensive study of a
          > single
          > village on the Hungarian Plain, is widely available and fairly
          > inexpensive.
          > Descriptions I have read of the culture of Germans who migrated
          > to Hungary
          > also do not appear to differ materially. I suspect the same is
          > true of
          > the
          > peasant culture of surrounding regions. One would expect some
          > variations
          > from area to area, and even village to village, but in my view
          > the
          > commonality of the customs and traditions is far more striking.
          > Just one
          > example is the custom of men sleeping in the stables, while the
          > women and
          > children slept in the house. Others include the courtship
          > rituals of
          > young
          > men, the violence that often occurred when a young man courted a
          > girl out
          > of
          > his community, the tradition of young men drinking and dancing
          > till the
          > wee
          > hours until they married and settled down, and the pathetic
          > position of
          > daughters-in-law in a household.
          >
          > I am looking forward to Vladimir's contributions and would be
          > very
          > interested in learning if he agrees.
          >
          > Janet
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, go to
          > http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank
          > email to
          > SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
          > ADVERTISEMENT
          >
          >
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          >
          > __________ Informacia od NOD32 1.848 (20040820) __________
          >
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          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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        • nhasior@aol.com
          Aloysia, Thank you for your story. I do not think it was inappropriate for this list. i enjoyed it and am passing it on to my aunt and daughter. I remember
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 4, 2004
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            Aloysia,
            Thank you for your story. I do not think it was inappropriate for this list.
            i enjoyed it and am passing it on to my aunt and daughter. I remember one
            of my aunts, born in 1904, telling me that when she got all dressed up to go
            out dancing, they were so poor that she used a tiny bit of shoe polish for
            curling her eyelashes. i never forgot that.
            Noreen


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • bill tarkulich
            Regarding the segregation of men and women, I can speak only for the East of Slovakia, but I m fairly confident the following applies generally. For the most
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 4, 2004
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              Regarding the segregation of men and women, I can speak only for the
              East of Slovakia, but I'm fairly confident the following applies generally.

              For the most part, 100 years ago in small villages, men and women
              separately socialized ("Slovak Family Traditions"). I observed this
              social segregation continued in America as well. They were hardly ever
              seen together as a "couple", as we do today. This extended to the
              church. If you look at the architecture of Greek Catholic churches
              before 1945, it consisted of three spaces: the Sacristry/altar, Nave and
              Babinec. The nave was located centrally and was where the men sat. The
              "Babinec" or "babynets" was also called the "women's room", located
              farthest from the altar.

              I suspect that this tradition was modified in America since most
              churches consisted of principally two sections, the nave (for the
              congregants) and the altar (for the sacrament.) The "babinec" was
              generally relegated to the role of a vestibule in America. Since room
              separation wasn't logistically possible, dividing into two sections was
              the next best thing.

              As an aside, the congregants, except for the infirm generally stood
              throughout the entire service, which could be as long as 3 hours.

              If you attend an *Orthodox* service today (I married a Greek *Orthodox*
              {not to be confused with Greek Catholic} and attend this church), you
              will find the majority of people still "dress up." Men wear
              conservative suits and women wear modest dresses.

              Bill
            • Armata, Joseph R. (JArmata)
              I was in Poland in 1980 in a small village church where the sexes were still segregated: the women were on the left, men on the right. Luckily when I came in
              Message 6 of 13 , Oct 4, 2004
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                I was in Poland in 1980 in a small village church where the sexes were
                still segregated: the women were on the left, men on the right.
                Luckily when I came in I picked up on it and sat on the right side!

                Joe
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