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"Fasiangy, Turice, Velka noc pride,
kto nema kozuska, zima mu bude.
Ja nemam, ja nemam len sa tak trasiem,
dajte mi slaninky, nech sa popasiem.
Tuto nam nedali, tuto nam daju,
Tu brava zabili, slaninu maju"

The words of this song are heard regularly every year during Fasiangy time through the villages or Orava region. Variety of spring customs was created in Orava by Fasiangy. Living example of preservation of these traditions is low Orava's villages of Vysny Kubin and Parnica. In these villages, the ending of Fasiangy period known as ostatky, was the happiest time of the whole year. They organized Fasiangy parties that lasted from Sunday until Tuesday, sometimes, Wednesday. During those days the musicians would play every evening, sometimes from afternoon, all the way until morning. All the parties were responsibility of the mayor, to make sure that everything would run smoothly. The people of Vysny Kubin even today proudly remember what kind of "cveng" their fasiangy used to have. End of Fasiangy lasted three days during which the people did not work and every day there were three parties with music. The most famous party was the Squire party with Gypsy music playing cymbal, contrabass, clarinet, and three violins. Only the Squires were allowed to attend the Squire party. Peasants could not attend. Even the pub, where they held a Squire party was own by a Squire and if by chance a peasant got in somehow, he was told to leave. Second party was held by peasants and the third by farm- servants. These two parties were almost shared and everyone could enter them. They also used to make rounds through the villages. In Vysny Kubin it was on Tuesday, before Ash Wednesday and in Parnica a week earlier, so the week prior to the Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent period, would not be disturbed. The rounds had to be approved by the Mayor, County office and the local priest. The parade through the village consisted of young lads dressed up in folk costumes, and also young lads in masks accompanied by local musicians or from other villages. Masks of a bear, gypsies, and skeletons and women figures dominated Fasiangy parades. Long time ago the lads were walking with a mask of turon, that was reminding bulls' head. The parade went through the whole village. Originally they visited households where they had a girl. They would dance with her and her mother and would be rewarded and treated with food and drink. Traditional Fasiangy food was scrambled eggs and kramle-sisky (like doughnuts). As reward they would get eggs to their basket, bacon on their spit and to their bags, potatoes, rye, flax. These products they would exchange in the pub for money to pay the musicians and the rest they would drink. They would make another party and prepare the eggs and bacon together.

The Fasiangy period would end on Wednesday midnight by burial the contrabass. All present was singing and crying around her, as if it was real burial:

"Uz sa fasang krati, uz sa nenavrati,
a dievcence placú, ze sa nevyskacu"

"The Fasiang is getting shorter and isn't coming back,
the girls are crying, that they wont be jumping anymore."

With the contrabass burial, the music in the villages ended with Ugly Wednesday (Ash Wednesday), as the period of lent started. In Parnica even after the contrabass burial the music continued as they buried the contrabass week earlier.

In Vysny Kubin they remember that despite lent, the following day, the gypsy musicians that were playing for the Squires invited all the lads to the pub. Together they would spend all the money made during the three days playing, drinking. Apparently they had really good time in Vysny Kubin.


By: Elena Benusova
Na Sihoti 1162/29
026 01 Dolny Kubin



Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 6, No. 1, Spring 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.