Nationality: Slovakian, American
Residence: Willowbrook, Illinois
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/16/2016
Primary Language: Slovak
Other Language(s): English, Russian
Background: A.J. is a 65-year-old woman who was born and raised in Poprad, Slovakia. She relocated to the United States from Slovakia 20 years ago, while her son was attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A.J. holds a degree in child development and since coming to the United States has worked as a nanny. She is married to her lifelong sweetheart and has one son and three grandchildren. She often talks about her home and family in Slovakia – about the beautiful mountains and the culture. Although she is now a US citizen, she incorporates many Slovak traditions into everyday life, and enjoys telling stories about her family and her family traditions.
A.J.: On December 13, we met all girls in one house and we melted PB, how call that – lead – on the stove and was like liquid, we took on the spoon and pour to the bowl cold water. What kind of shape was made in this water we would decided what was that. If you have heart you will be happy. You will have good luck. If it was some different shape we always was thinking what it can be. Was like snake, you have bad luck or was some witch or something you were always thinking about your next year how will be look.
Q: So how old were you when you did this?
A.J.: We were 13, 14, 15 like that.
Q: Who did you learn it from?
A.J.: From parents or some other girls or older girls what we have in the village. Always this oldest girls invite youngest girls and go like tradition you know from one girl to another and then.
Q: Did all the girls in the one village go to one house or were there multiple?
A.J.: Multi – were like 10 girls or 12 girls in one house and other go to other. We always meet in different houses every year
Performance Context: This ritual would be done in Slovakia on December 13th, St. Lucy’s Day, by a large group of teenage girls.
My Thoughts: I think that it is interesting how many of the traditions done by teenage girls in Slovakia surround their future luck and happiness. Additionally, many of these traditions happen on December 13, or St. Lucy’s Day. This is also known as the “witch day.” It is possible that this day was seen as a day of magic, which is why girls believe that they would be able to predict some of their future on this day.