Starting with begining of the month of December in Slovakia, as in all the other Catholic countries starts one of he most beautiful period of the year: the Advent. The shops are full of toys and presents, there are Christmass trees everywhere, the Christmas markets are opened and the atmosphere is christmassy. The Advent for the religious people of Slovakia is also a time of spiritual preparation for Christmass, for receiving the new born child.
The Advent starts with the First Sunday of Advent, 4 weeks before the Christmass. Every family buys a wreath of artificial flowers with 4 beautiful candles in it and they bring it to the church to be blessed. The Mass on the First Sunday of Advent marks the lighting of the first candle. At home each family will light another candle every sunday until Christmass day.
Advent is a time of making peace and finding yourself spiritually. People go to confession, they go to church more offen or do charitable work. It is a time for buying presents and preparing for the coming of the Christ child.
In Slovakia the beginning of the Advent it is marked also by the opening of the Christmass markets. Since the end of November you can see the preparations already starting on the main square in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava. The tree is mounted, wooden baracks are build and a skating ring is prepared.
The Christmas markets are one of te most beautiful organized celebrations in Bratislava. They start in the end of November and end one day before Christmass. The Main Square and the Hviezsdoslavava square in t Old Center of Bratislava are filled with wood baracks with different goods and presents. The majority ote baracks are selling traditional slovak foods and drinks. ciganska, a sandwich with chicken or pork meat, onions and mustard, then there are all types of sausages with bread and mustard, kapustnitza, deer goulash, pancakes, strudel with apple, cheese, poppy seeds, cherries, cakes, boil wine and punch, hot coffee or chocolate, ginger bread in all kind of colors and shapes, trdelnik, sweets and sugar candies in all shapes, medovina an alcohol made from honey.
There are also a lot of stands with wooden toys and souvenirs, earings and hand made ornaments, knitted clothes, books and potscards. Since this year even the Archdiocese of Bratislava. Thousands and thousands of people and tourists are passing through the markets daily. There are arranged tables where you can sit anjoy your meal or sit your boiled wine and punch.