A. Introduction

In the world of globalization, we search for everything that distinguishes us and we eagerly get to know others’ distinctiveness. We are curious about where and what we come from – us and them.

We willingly travel – especially throughout Europe without any boundaries – we follow smaller and bigger regional trails. We get to know geographical features of different areas which influence local communities through their economy, lay of the land, climatic conditions or different natural resources. We also curiously observe cultural differences and all these things that on one hand connect big groups of people such as the elements of the musical and dancing folklore, but on the other hand, we also observe tiny differences, characteristic of small communities. Not only the old forms themselves are interesting to us, but also the way they influence the present times and how they shape the contemporary identity of their communities.

We are inviting you to join us on this trip along the polish and Slovakian borderline trails. The Euroregion Beskidy will be the area of our trip and sometimes its nearest vicinity as well.

When we published our guidebook “Na szlakach tradycji/Po cestách tradícií” (On the Trails of Tradition) in 2005, it turned out to be a real bomb. The topic is no longer a novelty after that many years since a lot of other works of the similar character have been published either traditionally or on the Internet. We have decided to take a risk and step in the same river again in order to check how the things, we described, have changed. Indeed things have changed. Some institutions no longer exist, others have developed and they take up new tasks, carry out new projects. There are also new ones that did not exist at that time but today they attract people with their interesting offer. You are now holding the result in your hands. You can also find it on your smartphones.

Nevertheless, one factor has not changed and I mean the people with passion here. It is only thanks to them that museums, open air museums, small and big galleries, memorial halls and artistic workshops are the places worth recommending. It doesn’t matter whether these are individual projects of the tradition lovers or artists dealing with a given area of the folk art or smaller or bigger institutions. The knowledge, respect for tradition and extraordinary involvement of the people working in galleries, museums, and open air museums bring life to material objects from the past along with everything that accompanied them – everyday activities, housework, music, songs, costumes, artistic works, passions, and dreams. And people who are remembered in tales, anecdotes, photographs, different objects, works of art, domestic premises and workshops.

Would you like to join this fellowship of rememberance? You are most welcome on the trails of tradition.

Małgorzata Słonka