- Itinerant traders abroad affected, and were affected by, their environments. Their relations with the local population were primarily economic, although their work also had cultural and social effects. The character of the itinerant Slovak trader in foreign folklore is an interesting illustration of these relations.
For example, Hungarian folk plays often have characters representing various craftsmen and itinerant traders. The folk theater tradition makes use of the characters and professions of people whose way of life differs from the ordinary life of farmers. These stock characters started to appear in Hungarian folk traditions at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Slovak tinkers and herbal-oil men predominate among the roles of migrating sellers and repairmen.
In Hungarian villages, as in other countries, itinerant traders attracted attention with their traditional clothing, which was gradually replaced by a city style of clothing, and with their languages and tools. In addition, the plays also included characters of glaziers and minor itinerant traders dealing in wooden dishes. Such characters played a roll in local customs related to grape-harvest parades, carnivals, and weddings.(14)
Stock scenes with itinerant Slovak traders as characters were also popular in other nations' folk plays, e.g. in a carnival parade in Lithuania,(15) and in Polish carnival parades, which included the character of an itinerant Slovak trader-a tinker.(16) Slovak traders also occur in Polish and Belarusian puppet plays. Here, as in Hungary, tinkers and herbal-oil men were chosen from among the large range of Slovak traders. The evidence of this can be seen in Polish szopky < http://www.cracowcrafts.com/szopka.html > [look up images on the Web-they're beautiful!] and Belarusian betlejky [Nativity scenes].(17)
All opinions my own
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