Thanks for the email.
Jason Soltis is not a writer. He is a young man who spent a year in the
Presov area and verbally shared his observations with members of the
Slovakian Heritage Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and I wrote a story
about his oral presentation.
I'm not sure how I should have "checked" Soltis' assertions. I suppose I
could have called Slovakian officials for their input. But given that I
wrote the original story on a Sunday and it was published in a Monday paper
(re-published this Sunday in our Hazleton section), I imagine it would have
been difficult to reach anyone in government offices on that Sunday.
Additionally, the move would have seemed a bit extreme to me at the time. I
really don't think I had substantial reason to question his honesty or
reliability. I can, however, understand your umbrage.
It might be noteworthy, however, that Soltis spent most of his time in
Presov, which is in Eastern Slovakia. He did say that part of the republic
is a few decades behind the Western section, in which Bratislava lies. I
don't recall him distinguishing between the two sections when sharing his
observations on customs. In hindsight, however, I probably should have asked
him if his observations that I noted in my story were specifically from
Eastern Slovakia, and noted that in my story as well.
You might consider submitting a Letter to the Editor to clear up any
misconceptions our readers might have. Letters may be emailed to
jlacoe@... to the attention of Jean LaCoe, our editorial page editor.
I you choose to submit a letter, please include a daytime phone number so
that your identity may be verified prior to publication.
Thanks again for your input.
Times Leader Staff Writer
(570) 459-2005 - Hazleton Office
(800) 427-8649 - Main Office in Wilkes-Barre
From: Vladimir Linder [mailto:vlinder49@...]
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 9:08 PM
Steve I suggest you check your stories from
writers like Soltis as he has no clue at all about Slovakia and its
By the way who the HELL is SOLTIS??
Slovakia customs unlike U.S.
Jason Soltis has NO CLUE ABOUT SLOVAKIA.
By STEVE MOCARSKY
Jason Soltis observed some aspects of Slovakian
culture and daily life that most Americans might find somewhat strange:
Name Days Birthdays are rarely celebrated in
Slovakia. Instead, various days throughout the
year are associated with peoples first names.
Anyone whose name is John is wished a Happy Johns
Day on that day and might receive gifts as well.
BIRTHDAYS are celebrated same as in North America
in addition to name days. So everybody celebrates twice a year!!
Mass transit People rarely travel by car,
usually taking buses or trains; driving a minivan
or SUV is almost unheard of. Bus passes are
rarely checked. But anyone caught using an
expired pass (theyre good for a half hour) can
expect a hefty fine and a tongue lashing from the bus driver.
This maybe true 15 years ago, yes public transit
is great but there are constant traffic jams in
Bratislava from morning to evening, meaning
everybody that does have car drives it. There are
mini vans and SUV GALORE in Bratislava and whole
Slovakia. Bus drivers do not get involved with
tte public at all, they are separately enclosed
in the front with no public access to them. They
do have inspectors to check your tickets and you
can buy time on the public transportation system up to 1 hour per ticket.
Dunking Day celebrated the day after Easter.
Slovakian men choose a single woman and douse her
with water in any of several ways, from splashing
it from a cup to using a fire hose. The man then
sprays the stinkiest perfume he can find on the woman.
The woman must then give the man some chocolate.
This is practiced in villages to this day. Perfume goes in cities.
Chocolate to boys, slivovica or other hard stuff to men.
Shoeless schools Students take off their shoes
and leave them in their lockers when they arrive
at school each day. They don slippers, which are
more comfortable and cut down on floor scrubbings.
Only in kindergarten.
Beg for graduation High school seniors dont
have formal commencement ceremonies. Instead,
they take to the streets, talk to people and try
to get money from them, Soltis said. The
graduates use the money to go to dinner and then
out for some partying to celebrate graduation.
Totally UNTRUE. Nobody goes and begs for money
except the homeless. THIS IS A BIG BULL
No closets, lots of fences Slovakian homes,
which are almost always surrounded by fences,
rarely have closets. Slovaks use armoires instead.
ANOTHER BULL. Actually everybody has stand alone
closets, unknown of in USA. Yes high fences
around the MAFIOSOS houses scared to death. In
villages just a wire fences to prevent the
animals from escaping to your neighbor.
One rose better than a dozen An even number of
flowers is never given as a gift, except for a
funeral. Men always give women an odd number of flowers.
You bring pairs to funerals and graves. Took me a while to get this one.
- The Slovak-American Home Team won the Superbowl yesterday.
Any team with Polka Fight Songs can't be bad.
There are on line samples of some the greatest Steeler's
Polka Fight Songs available to listen to.
Have Superbowl Polka fun.