The carnival of fašiangy used to be a major festival in Slovak villages. It was traditionally connected with a two or three day feast and gathering. The course of fašiangy is essentially the same nowadays as it used to be in the past. Brutovce, a village in the region of Spiš, the first written record of which dates back to 1268, will resound with singing and good wishes this year as well.
Brutovce - original wooden house
Year by year, the inhabitants of Brutovce revive the tradition of fašiangy that includes traditional meals, dance events, and several attractive customs. On St Stephen's Day, the Boxing Day, young bachelors in the village gather to elect dignitaries from among themselves who will organise the annual feast of fašiangy. Then, on the agreed Saturday in February, the young men chosen for the typical masks - “a goat”, “thick Johnny”, “a gypsy man”, “a gypsy woman” – meet at the dignitary's to dress up. This merry company then goes from house to house inviting neighbours to the feast's best – the evening dance. The dance event is enlivened by a dance called verbunk, the dance of unmaried men, girls, married women and men.
The event suits all those who seek luck. It is believed that anyone whom the gypsy woman from the company smudges with soot will have good luck all the year round. The best thing, however, will be to try these humorous tricks, see the smiling smutted faces, and enjoy the unique atmosphere in Brutovce.
Living customs and traditions are also kept in the nearby Ruthenian villages of Nižné Repaše, Torysky and Olšavica in the Levočské vrchy hills. Their realistic preservation and the unveiling of other folklore treasures is actively pursued by folklore groups. Traditional folk architecture is also present in these villages that fits well in the rural environment. The typical wooden log houses are recorded in the list of cultural monuments.
Those who would like to discover other cultural secrets may visit the historical village of Bijacovce that once belonged to the Spišský hrad castle. Nowadays it is part of the Gothic Route, the first thematic cultural and educational route that presents the most significant, ancient and valuable cultural treasures from the Gothic period. Noteworthy is not only the Romanesque rotunda and the 15th century Gothic church, but also the tomb of the Csaky aristocratic family.
source: Andrea Žihalová
author: Gabriela Hudáková