Jan Mrug and his children play with a new pony at the family farm in Jakubany, Slovakia.
(photo: Andrej Bán)
In much of CNEWA’s world, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Two years ago, writer Jacqueline Ruyak wrote about an icy corner of Slovakia celebrating the season, and Greek Catholics holding fast to their heritage:
“The church is very much the center of the community here,” said Father Saraka. “It helps older people keep their traditions and younger people to understand them better.
“But we have a problem with people observing religion as they would a tradition. Traditions are not the purpose of faith: they should help people with their faith.
“When young people leave,” the priest said, “they often lose their faith as they lose their traditions. I want to help them realize the beauty of life lived in accord with Jesus.”
Jakubany has a rich cultural heritage, including distinctive folklore, music, dance and dress. Villagers developed traditions in relation to their deep, historical relationship with the forests, pastures and mountains that surround the community.