A VERY SIMPLE INAUGURATION!
The finishing touches to the exhibition stands had scarcely been completed when on Monday December 8th the time came for the inauguration ceremony of the Christmas in Europe exhibition in Prešov. And indeed it was a very sober ceremony, held in front of the large and beautifully decorated Christmas tree occupying pride of place in the middle of the sports hall.
The delegations, decked out in the full national costumes of their countries of origin, made up a highly colourful tableau for this official inauguration of the 23rd Christmas in Europe. Three trumpeters, Jozef Kakascik, Stefan Kovalic and Anton Horkel from the ‘School of Folk Arts’ had the honour of sounding the fanfare marking the start of the ceremony; their performance was followed by the European Anthem and by the Slovak National Anthem, which the audience listened to in total silence.
Before the Christmas tree stood school director Jozef Senko, AEHT President Ana Paula Pais, AEHT General Secretary Nadine Schintgen, teacher and interpreter Natalia Komanicka, together with local VIPs Frantisek Marcincin, Regional Director of Education and René Pucher, Deputy Mayor of Prešov. In their respective addresses the speakers emphasised the values given pride of place at a festival such as this, namely sharing and friendship in a European spirit; and Jozef Senko spoke of the pride felt by Prešov and by Slovakia in hosting this important event, and wished everyone an excellent stay in Prešov.
The ‘Gaudeamus’ women’s choir from the Pedagogical and Social Academy, conducted by Mrs Matisova, gave a performance of several magnificent works from its repertoire, which gave the ceremony an almost religious feel, especially when they gave a quite beautiful rendering of ‘Amazing Grace’.
Next came the traditional visit by the VIPs to each of the stands, where, following another tradition, they had to taste all the specialities, accompanied, as is fitting, by a whole host of explanations and commentaries. And already members of the public were joining the throng. The 23rd Christmas in Europe in Prešov was under way!