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Slovakia is such a small country that you have to study the map very carefully to find it. It has 49 030 square kilometers and 5 356 207 Inhabitants. It is very interesting that here, in Slovakia; we have the point, which symbolizes the exact center of Europe. It is in Central Slovakia, in a village called Kremnicke Bane where you could stick the compasses and the circle would mark the edges of Europe.
Although Slovakia is small, our folklore is diverse. I have visited a lot of festivals in our country and abroad and according to the national costumes, style of music and dance I can tell which country they come from. But when we Slovaks perform at festivals abroad, our foreign friends are surprised because of the variety of our costumes. They have asked us many times why we change them so often while they go through the whole performance in one single costume. I am sure, you perfectly understand this, dear countryman! Each region has its own traditions, customs, its costumes, dances, and music. Detvanec can't dance in a costume from Myjava, Sarisanec in a costume from Liptov. Even the language is so different that a Slovak from Western Slovakia has to listen very carefully to understand his countryman from Eastern Slovakia.
Slovakia has always been generally divided into 3 basic parts-Western, Central and Eastern Slovakia, plus Bratislava and its surroundings. If we tried to simplify this, we could divide our national culture in the same way. But in each of these parts there are several regions that have their own typical features of folklore. They might have some things in common, in other ways they might be completely different. Mainly songs are often the same, or at least similar. When I researched the material for my final thesis at the University, I found that a song, which the people from Zvolen consider to be "their own song," you could very well find in the repertoire of folk groups from Kosice or Bratislava. This is a common feature here; blending of inhabitants caused it. People used to travel a lot to find better jobs, they moved to other places, soldiers went to army to the other corners of Slovakia, young people were getting married ... and each of these would bring something new to the other place which became domesticated there. The regions situated close to the border with other countries were influenced by their immediate surroundings of other nations. For example-folklore of Southern Slovakia has many common features with Hungarian folklore, in the north, in the Tatras you wouldn't recognize a Slovak "Goral" from the Polish one. Eastern Slovakia was influenced by Russian culture, Western Slovakia by Czech folklore, more precisely - Moravian. So that you could imagine it better, here is the map of Slovakia where the folk regions are marked.

In my previous articles I've already mentioned many times, how the folk traditions are kept in the villages, especially in those where folklore is still alive. National costumes also belong to the tradition.

When a new folk group is established, it is obvious that it needs new costumes. So, grandmothers open their old "cases" and pull out old, old costumes that they used to wear a long time ago. According to these original costumes skilful women can make new ones for the whole group. In my hometown Detva there are many folk groups and folk bands. Each year the number of musicians and dancers rises and, of course, everybody wants to be dressed properly. Mrs. Jana Kucbelova who owns a folk art shop in Detva took care of this problem. She put together some craftsmen who make national costumes and also other parts like - boots, hats, bells, hatches, buckles and all that belongs to folklore. Jana did such a great job and she did so much that she certainly deserves your attention. So let me introduce her to you. First I'll try to draft her profile and then Iíll tell you what her job is about.

Jana Kucbelova, PhDr. is young and ambitious woman. She studied sociology and pedagogy at the university and later on, her PhDr. also concerned these subjects. She is very clever and sensitive, so she noticed that our town-which lives with folklore-needs a place where a folk musician, dancer-or anybody keen on folklore-could go when he/she needs the "basic equipment." As Jana is very enterprising and this job is also her hobby, she didn't hesitate very long and opened a shop with folk products-PARTA. After short time her shop became very popular and frequently visited by many. She established a lot of contacts and enlarged the assortment. Jana will tell you later what exactly you can find in her shop. She is willing to lend you a folk wedding costume if you are getting married, she is sponsoring various activities connected with folklore and folk art, especially if children take part. Jana is very sociable, she always finds time if you need some advise, help or if you simply want to talk to her for a while. To do her job properly, Jana had to study a lot and learn how to distinguish various details. Today, I could say, she is a first-class specialist in folk costumes and I am sure that those of you who have already visited Detva know who Mrs. Jana Kucbelova is.

This is what Jana told me about her shop:

We were established in 1992. At the beginning our assortment consisted of folk art products and national costumes only. Together with the growth of potential customers and demand for our products, their number and quality grew as well. At present we make hundreds and hundreds of national costumes for folk groups, but also for individuals in Slovakia and abroad. We can make complete costumes-from boots to hats. We very often make children's costumes for grandchildren of Slovak immigrants-embroidered blouses, skirts, shirts, etc. Foreign customers can always find us at the folk festivals in Vychodna and Detva. Slovak visitors of our shop often look for folk art products other than costumes, especially fujara's, valaska's, dolls dressed in national costumes. We offer all this in rich assortment and various prices. We also sell folklore videotapes, however they do have to be converted to your system, CD's, and audiotapes with folk music.

You can find us in Detva right behind Hotel Detva.

Our address:
Jana Kucbelova, PhDr
PARTA - Slovenske ludove umenie
Zahradna 3
962 12 Detva
Phone: 011-421-855-5455 545

Written by:
Dana Hodulova
A. Bernolaka 2
962 12 Detva

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Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 6, No. 3, Fall 1998
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1998 
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.