May Day Festivities
Planting of maypoles is of one the most beautiful Slovak traditions. May: the month of love, as people call it, is the time when nature is in a beautiful bloom and when animals give birth to their offspring.
In Vlkolínec, the time for planting of maypoles was always the first Sunday of May. On the day before, on Saturday afternoon, young men went to the woods and chop off spruce trees which were about 10 meters high. They left a few branches at the top, cut off all the other ones and they also peeled off the bark. They brought them to the village only after dark. Then the young men ate some scrambled eggs and drank some distilled spirit and they spent the late evening decorating the trees with colourful ribbons.
After ten o’clock, the whole procession including musicians went off to the village, singing along the way. Maypoles were built for all single young women over the age of fourteen. The biggest maypole was built in the centre of Vlkolínec. Along the way, farmers offered the young men bread, bacon, sausage and distilled spirit. By the time the young men finished, the night had already turned into day.
On the Sunday morning, everyone could not take their eyes off the beautiful maypoles, they judged which one is the most beautiful and which one is the tallest.
In the afternoon, young men went walking from house to house. They danced with all the women and they were always given some kind of reward. Finally, it was time for the actual celebrations, the May Day Carnival. In Vlkolínec, the carnival was held in the building of the firemen warehouse. Young men had to take turns to dance with all young women and the partying lasted until midnight.