Translating Sibacka: The Whipping Ceremony

Translating Šibačka

April 14, 2017

Allan Stevo

It’s common that I will encounter the question “How do you say šibačka in English?”  I have yet to conclusively use a set translation for my purposes.  While English is effective at borrowing many foreign loan words, I feel like the word šibačka, as cool as it is, might not find a home in the English.  Šibačka needs a translation to make the tradition easier to talk about outside of Slovak with those unfamiliar with the practice of šibačka and the term.  Perhaps “whipping ritual” or “whipping ceremony” conveys the point.  I would argue that šibačka is ceremonious and follows some set patterns and because of that, either word might be appropriate.

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Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.

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