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Slovakia Customs & Etiquettes


In Slovakia, the family is the centre of the social structure. It, together with close friends, forms the basis of financial and emotional support. Obligation to the family is a person’s number one priority.

Slovaks value their privacy. It takes a while for them to open up to and trust new people. As a result they can seem overly formal and reserved. They are not exuberant and are not given to emotional displays. Once you develop a personal relationship Slovaks will start to open up. Although always polite, they seldom move to a first-name basis with people outside their extended family or very close friends.

Meeting & Greeting

Greetings are warm but not effusive. The most common greeting will be a handshake, direct eye contact and the relevant greeting for the time of day: "dobré rano" (good morning), "dobré popoludne" (good afternoon), and "dobru noc" (good evening). The informal greeting "ahoj" (hi) is often used among friends.

People are generally introduced by the honorific titles "Pan" (Mr.) or "Pani" (Mrs.) and their surname. Close friends may refer to each other using the honorific title and first names. Always wait to be invited before using someone’s first name.

Gift Giving Etiquette

If you are invited to a Slovak’s home, take wine, flowers or good quality chocolates for the hostess. If giving flowers, do so in odd numbers, except for 13, which is considered unlucky. Do not give chrysanthemums or calla lilies and do not wrap flowers in purple ribbon, as these are traditions reserved for funerals.

Gifts are usually opened when received.

Dining Etiquette & Table Mannerism

Slovaks generally entertain in pubs or taverns (pivnice), wine bars (vinárne), restaurants and sometimes in their homes. The home is considered private and only family and close friends are generally invited to visit.

If you are invited to a Slovak's house:

• remove your shoes at the door;
• arrive on time – punctuality is appreciated;
• dress well, i.e. like you are going to work, as this shows respect for your hosts;
• try not to discuss business in social situations unless your host brings up the topic;
• reciprocating any hospitality you receive goes towards strengthening a relationship.

Table manners are rather formal in Slovakia. Table manners are Continental, i.e. hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. Do note that the napkin remains folded next to the plate. It is not unfolded and put on your lap.

Wait for the host to say "do brou chut" before you begin eating. The most common toast is "naz dravie" (to your health). It is imperative that you look the person who is being toasted in the eye.

To refuse the first offer of a second helping is polite; wait until the hostess insists before accepting more.





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