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Re: [S-R] Question About Traditions

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  • Ron Matviyak
    I don t want to answer the initial post asking about traditions because that can lead into so many directions. I recommend that people also subscribe to
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 1, 2007
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      I don't want to answer the initial post asking about traditions
      because that can lead into so many directions. I recommend that
      people also subscribe to Slovak-World on Yahoo Groups to enjoy the
      general cultural discussions, since this forum is more centered toward
      genealogy. It does seem quite natural that curiosity about the
      ancestors would lead to curiosity about how they lived and the
      culture. We shared a land with the Hungarians for 800-1000 years (they
      didn't conquer it all the first day!)

      Two great books I must recommend are "A Cultural History of Hungary",
      book 1 subtitled "from the Beginnings to the Eighteenth Century, ISBN
      963 13 4836 9, 1999 Edited by Laszlo Kosa, and volume 2 (same title),
      subtitle "In the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries", ISBN 963 13 4945
      4, also edited by Laszlo Kosa. There is simply too much detail in the
      two books to quote here. I bought my copies in Budapest so I cannot
      say what they cost here or where to find them, but they are well worth
      acquiring. They give a straight presentation on what is known and on
      what basis, and what is unknown about the past, and they do it for all

      I find it refreshing to read about everyday life rather than the
      typical history that tells of kings and wars and royalty and skips the
      flesh around the skeleton presented. The communists did emphasize the
      common people, and in doing that they brought many points out that
      were skipped over in conventional histories up to that time. Now it
      seems we are reaping the benefit of historians writing and publishing
      sans the earlier 150 years of nationalism and communism.

      I have both "Budapest 1900, A Historical Portrait of a City & Its
      Culture" and 'Thunder at Twilight, Vienna 1913/1914". They both give
      nice pictures of Austria-Hungary at about the time our ancestors came
      to the New World.


      --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Janet Kozlay" <kozlay@...> wrote:
      > Dear Diana,
      > You pose a very good question. Most writings about this area and its
      > traditions focus almost entirely on the peasantry, which only makes
      > since they were the vast majority of the population. And they
      represent an
      > even greater proportion of those who emigrated. In addition, the most
      > comprehensive studies were done under a Communist regime, which meant
      > sending the message that only the peasant life and culture was worth
      > documenting and/or preserving. Nevertheless, there are American
      > today of Slovaks and Hungarians who were well off and whose lives
      were not
      > the same as the peasantry.
      > Here I think you are probably speaking of the nobility rather than the
      > aristocracy. The true aristocracy tended to live in Vienna, spoke
      Latin and
      > German, and probably differed little in their lifestyle from other
      > aristocracy. Some never even visited their homeland and could not
      speak the
      > vernacular languages. The nobility, on the other hand, represented about
      > five percent of the population of historic Hungary and were more closely
      > tied to the general culture. I will choose to call this culture
      > both because present-day Slovakia was a part of the Kingdom of
      Hungary and
      > because in most respects the cultures of Slovaks and Hungarians were the
      > same. Though they may have spoken different languages, many of their
      > traditions were identical. You may find a particular tradition listed as
      > peculiarly Slovak only to find that the identical tradition existed
      in the
      > Hungarian-speaking culture, and vice versa.
      > I have found only a little information on the lifestyles and culture
      of the
      > Hungarian nobility. To answer your specific question, however, I
      have read
      > that knowledgeable Hungarians regard Csardas to be quite accurate. I
      > only two other published sources that shed light on the culture of the
      > nobility, and neither of them is easy to find. One is a monograph by
      > Paladi-Kovacs entitled Ethnic Traditions, Classes and Communities in
      > Hungary, published in Budapest in 1996. I found mine through
      > www.abebooks.com <http://www.abebooks.com/> , but no copies are
      listed of it
      > today. It might be possible to order it from the Institute of Ethnology,
      > Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
      > There is another, newer book entitled Bela Bartok and
      > Budapest by Judit Frigyesi which looks like it may be quite
      interesting. It
      > is available through Amazon. I have not seen it, so I cannot comment
      on how
      > useful it is, but it seems to have gotten a good review for
      discussing the
      > social and cultural life of that time.
      > My second source is a book by an American, Charles Loring Brace, who
      made a
      > trip through Hungary in 1851 and wrote up his observations in a book
      > entitled, rationally enough, Hungary in 1851. His observations
      include many
      > fascinating details regarding the life of the nobility. It is
      extremely well
      > written and is one of my favorite books. Copies of it are available from
      > www.abebooks.com <http://www.abebooks.com/> ranging in price of
      $30.00 for
      > one in very poor condition to $213.00. A couple of them are in the
      > price range, which I think is quite reasonable. Interestingly
      enough, the
      > book is so good that it has recently been translated into Hungarian by
      > historians there.
      > Finally, I am fortunate to have access to a detailed diary written by my
      > husband's great-grandfather in the mid-19th century. He was born into a
      > wealthy family and he offers fascinating details about various
      aspects of
      > his life as a young man there before his emigration in 1849. This
      > especially interesting information regarding the relationship
      between the
      > nobility and the serfs as well as what young men did for entertainment
      > (ahem!). I am presently working on a book based on an English
      translation of
      > these hundreds of pages, supplementing it with annotations from my own
      > research. It is not even close to being finished, but when it is I will
      > probably put it on the Internet.
      > And to answer your general question about traditions, yes, many of the
      > traditions were followed by everyone regardless of economic
      > they celebrated holidays, for instance, or going to the fair, or the
      > importance of name day celebrations. The differences were in
      housing, dress,
      > what they ate, and even what sorts of dancing they engaged in.
      Although many
      > of these differences were influenced by the larger European community,
      > especially Vienna, they yet retained a flavor of their own.
      > Janet
      > _____
      > From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
      > Behalf Of Diana Boggs
      > Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 3:31 PM
      > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [S-R] Question About Traditions
      > Did similar traditional life style parallels exist for aristocracy as on
      > this link?
      > http://www.iabsi com/gen/public/ traditions. htm
      > What books can I purchase or where can I be sent to learn more about the
      > roles that the aristocracy of the regions played. Is the book "Csardas?"
      > reflective on traditions of those times ? Any other relatively factional
      > fictional novels out there to be read ?
      > Diana
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • david1law@aol.com
      Dear Janet: I just wanted to let you know that I find myself often impressed with your knowledge and explanations regarding genealogy and Slovakia. I have
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 1, 2007
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        Dear Janet:

        I just wanted to let you know that I find myself often impressed with your
        knowledge and explanations regarding genealogy and Slovakia. I have learned a
        lot from your various postings, especially when you share your knowledge
        regarding various traditions and societal elements in Slovakia. Thank you.

        Best regards,


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