The Carnival is the merriest time of the year. Its origins go back to the pre-Christian era and it belongs among the customs connected with the break of the winter and the spring.
The Carnival, starting at Epiphany and ending on Ash Wednesday, comes before the Lent. In the past as well as nowadays, it is the time of merriness and feasts. It culminates in the carnival mask ball symbolising the world “upside down” during which the social barriers have been neglected.
The most ancient masks are those representing various animals, the most frequent being the mask of the bull (bull-human), the goat, the bear and the horse.
The carnival time reaches its top in the last week before the Lent when masked groups go singing round the village and they make various tricks. The symbol of the end of the Carnival is the ceremony called burying of the bass on Mardi Gras, during which a real funeral is parodied.
Carnival celebrations in Slovakia lasted from the Sunday before Lent until Tuesday night at midnight, but sometimes they extended well into Ash Wednesday morning. Consuming huge amounts of food and hard drink were an important part of „fasiangy“ customs. Tables were filled with whiskey, brandy, wine, and beer. In previous centuries, by Slovaks also much loved medovina was drunk. In their homes, women baked meat, bravcova huspenina (a pork jelly), fried sisky (filled pastries) or pampuchy (a kind of potato fritter). Fasiangy was a major theatrical event in Slovak villages and towns. Carnival is the period from Epiphany until midnight before Ash Wednesday. Then the 40 day fast to the Great Friday. It is a transition period between winter and spring.