Tricky Words in this week's OVI
I've used "carnival" to translate "fašiangy", although carnival time is really only the last few days before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent (Pôst), whereas "fašiangy" is a longer period,
lasting from "Traja králi" (Epiphany) until Shrove Tuesday. That word Shrove suggests confession and absolution ("spoveď" and "rozhrešenie"), but most English people know it nowadays as "Pancake
Tuesday", and I think there's a pancake tradition in Eastern Slovakia at this time too. The word carnival comes from Latin, meaning either "farewell/goodbye to meat" or "remove the meat", while
"fašiangy" is linked to the German "Fasching" or "Fastnacht", in the sense of "predvečer pôstu". So no more balls or weddings for the next six weeks, right?
The first winter games event was cross-country skiing. Why is the English expression so complicated, when the Slovak or German ones are so simple and logical - literally "running on skis" or
"ski-running"? It's probably because of tradition. In Slovakia and Germany there's usually enough snow throughout the winter for people to go running on skis rather than in training-shoes. In
Britain, though, even in Scotland where the winters are harder, the weather is so changeable that even a heavy snowfall may last only a few days, and melting snow is not compact enough to go skiing
on. But in Britain there is a big tradition of cross-country running, not on skis but in running-shoes, and this sport goes on through the winter (like football - no winter break in Britain).
Orienteering developed as a way of making cross-country running more interesting. So instead of cross-country running in Britain you get cross-country skiing in the rest of Europe.