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The potato represents a basic food not only for the Romanian dishes, but also for the Slovakian ones, the difference is that the Slovakians from Romania know how to celebrate it properly, by organizing an entire event about it.
If you imagine it is only a simple peasant festival, then you are wrong. In Sinteu commune of Bihor County, “the Potato Holiday” is honoured by important guests, such as the President of Slovakia himself, Ivan Gasparovici, as well as the Slovakian Ambassador in Romania.
The events are organised by the Sinteu Commune Town Hall, together with the Democrat Union of the Slovakians and Czechs and the Primary School in the commune.
The tradition requires the festivities to start with a religious service, followed then by young people of Slovakia presenting artistic programs, including traditional songs.
The “Potato Festival” cannot take place without the famous potato pies, called “podlesniak” and “tocna” or without the Potato Ball, in other words another excuse for the young people, but not only, to dance.
The potato is not celebrated by chance in this region of the country. In Şinteu, the potatoes are grown on about 200 hectares of land, and according to the organizers of the event, the taste of these potatoes is easily recognizable, compared to the ones from other areas.
Moreover, the Sinteu area is favorable for the development of potato crops, which has also inspired the celebration itself. It was held for the first time in 1996, following an initiative of the president at that time of the local organization of the Democratic Union of Slovaks and Czechs in Romania, Stefan Calamar.
The idea appeared after he noticed that in other places of Bihor, there were organized various dances, such as the ball of garlic or the one of grapes. Since it was representative for both Şinteu and for the Slovaks, the potato was chosen as a theme.
If you fear that a visit during “the Potato Festival” could mean a few extra pounds on your figure, it is not the case. Şinteu is located in the eastern Bihor County, at an altitude of 750 meters on the Ses Mountain, therefore you can always take a trip there to keep your shape. The villages Tarnei Valley, Huta Voievozi and Socet also belong to this commune.
Images from The Slovakian Potatoes Holiday
- 1 “Mihai Viteazul” (Michael the Brave) – rural celebration
- 2 “La fântâna dorului” (At the Sorrow Fountain) – folk festival
- 3 The Onion Festival
- 4 Negreni Fair
- 5 The Grapes Ball
- 6 Folklore and folk art afferent to the tradition of Beius Fair
- 7 The Slovakian Potatoes Holiday
- 8 Aeternus Maramorosiensis – Medieval Festival of Sighetu Marmatiei
- 9 The “Salajean Village” Festival – Porolissum
- 10 Autumn on Ierului Valley