Slovak Christmas

The National Slovak Society Heritage Museum issues a welcome in both Slovak and English to visitors who’d like a taste of Christmas this weekend.

The National Slovak Society Heritage Museum, 351 Valley Brook Road, McMurray, will open its second annual “Christmas Around the World” display from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

New this year is the Italian ceppo (pronounced che-po) that is known in Tuscany as the “tree of light.”

Decorated trees in traditional style from Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia will be on display.

Guests will also be invited to write a Christmas memory to be broadcast on the Slovak Radio Hour from 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays on WPIT 730 AM and 96.5 FM hosted by Rudy and Sue Ondrejco, who will be playing Slovak carols, talking about traditions and sharing recipes.

St. Nicholas will be present to have his picture taken with visitors to “Christmas Around the World.”

Specialties served at the Slovak Christmas Eve meal will be for sale. These include oplatky, the unleavened wafers that are dipped in honey and shared by members of the family, and bobalky, small sweet bread balls which are mixed with either sauerkraut or poppy seed.

Visitors will be able to make their own oplatek, purchase small gifts and make a Christmas decoration of cut paper that is popular in many countries.

This year on the opening day, there will be a limited lunch menu available and a bake sale. Two heated tents for dining will be set up on the premises.

The centerpiece of the museum is the 17-foot wide woodcarving with 82 moving figures. It has miniature wooden people, buildings and scenes of Slovakia and a nativity scene.

There is no admission charge. After Saturday’s event, museum hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, Dec. 2-19. The display will also be open Monday, Dec. 30, and Thursday, Jan. 2, but closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that week.

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