In the last of our Christmas specials looking at how Christmas is celebrated around the world, and what the TWR broadcasts mean to believers living there, we return closer to home, to Slovakia.
Most of Slovakia’s festivities begin on Christmas Eve, but on 5 December, children polish their shoes and leave them on the doorstep for Santa Claus to fill with chocolates and sweets. Most Christmas shopping is done on the morning of Christmas Eve, to be exchanged later in the day.
Christmas trees are usually put up on the morning of Christmas Eve, decorated with lights, ornaments and chocolates.
Some of the baking begins two weeks before Christmas, typically including cakes, pastries and strudels.
Christmas dinner is served after church on Christmas Eve. Traditionally this would include a soup of sauerkraut, salami, mushrooms and prunes followed by grilled fish.
Christian families attend church on Christmas Eve afternoon, but many people in this former-Soviet country do not know the true meaning of Christmas.
“In one of your programmes, You are Mine!, you said something similar to the fact that God works through the stories of people with handicaps to speak to the healthy ones. And that is what is happening to me.
Even in my doubts and worries, your programmes bring me hope. The testimonies along with your loving and empathetic words are an ointment for my soul. That is why I love your programmes. They make me feel like I have a family. You are there speaking, I am here listening, and the people who talk about their stories all gives me a feeling of family oneness, understanding, and love.”
~ A former coal miner