The history and meaning of Slovakia’s national anthem, and how the lyrics translate to English

4 June 2021, 17:03

The history and meaning of Slovakia’s national anthem, and how the lyrics translate to English
The history and meaning of Slovakia’s national anthem, and how the lyrics translate to English. Picture: Getty / IMSLP

By Sian Moore

Slovakia’s anthem sings of a dangerous storm over the Tatras mountains, and the Slovaks’ hope to calm the impending threat.

The rousing national anthem of Slovakia, ‘Nad Tatrou sa blýska’, literally translates to ‘Lightning over the Tatras’.

Poet and activist Janko Matúška penned the protest lyrics in 1844, when he was just a student, in reaction to the removal of his teacher Ľudovít Štúr from his role by the Lutheran Church.

The anthemic melody comes from the folk song ‘Kopala studienku’.

Read more: The history, music and lyrics of the Netherlands national anthem

Once an anthem for Czechoslovakia

‘Nad Tatrou sa blýska’ was one of Czechoslovakia’s dual national anthems, and was traditionally played at noon in Slovak towns, until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

When Slovakia gained independence from Czechoslovakia in 1993, another stanza was added to set the song apart as a new national anthem for a new country.

What are the lyrics to Slovakia’s national anthem in English?

There is lightning over the Tatras,
thunderclaps wildly beat.
Let us stop them, brothers,
for all that, they will disappear,
the Slovaks will revive.

That Slovakia of ours
has been fast asleep so far,
but the thunder’s lightning
is rousing it
to come to.

What are the lyrics to Slovakia’s national anthem?

Nad Tatrou sa blýska,
hromy divo bijú.
Zastavme ich, bratia,
veď sa ony stratia,
Slováci ožijú.

To Slovensko naše
posiaľ tvrdo spalo,
ale blesky hromu
vzbudzujú ho k tomu,
aby sa prebralo.