Foreign Slovaks Day
Foreign Slovaks Day is a holiday observed on July 5th each year in Slovakia and commemorates Slovaks who have left their homeland for various reasons and at various times. This holiday falls on the Roman Catholic feast day dedicated to St. Cyril and St. Methodius, two Byzantine brothers who worked as missionaries spreading Christianity among the Slavic peoples.
This holiday was first established by the Slovak Parliament and coincides with the laying of the founding stone at the memorial in Bratislava in 2000. There is also an annual celebration at the Memorial of Slovak Emigration in Sad Janka Kráľa Park.
The History of Foreign Slovaks Day
The true origins of this holiday date back to 1880 when Pope Leo XIII established the feast day for St. Cyril and St. Methodius on the Roman Catholic calendar. Although Foreign Slovaks Day is not a religious holiday, it was purposefully placed on this date due to the extensive missionary work done by those two saints.
Also known as the Day of Slovaks Living Abroad, this holiday was set on this date by the Slovak Parliament and coincided with the laying of the memorial’s founding stone in Bratislava in 2000.
Observing Foreign Slovaks Day
Main celebrations for this holiday take place at the Memorial of Slovak Emigration in Sad Janka Kráľa Park in the Bratislava borough of Petržalka. There are also cultural fairs and other events held on this day. Because this holiday is also the Feast Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Catholics on this day will often attend religious services.
This holiday is not just celebrated in Slovakia, however. In Slovak communities around the world, residents celebrate this holiday as a way to maintain their connection to their home country. In these communities, this day is one of celebration and unity for all Slovaks, no matter where they are living.