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In the former Czechoslovakia, the Slovak anthem was played after the Czech anthem.Folk culture has had a broad impact on the symbols and metaphors of national culture.Rusyns are eastern Slavs who live in Slovakia, Ukraine, and Poland.The population growth rate is estimated to be 0.08 percent (1998), with an age structure of 0-14 years, 21 percent; 15-64 years, 68 percent; and 65 and over, 11 percent. Slovak, the national language, uses the Roman alphabet.For example, the fujara , or shepherd's flute, a bassoonlike tube of wood over a meter long, and the valaška , or shepherd's ax, are markers of Slovak culture, along with folk costumes and designs. Slovaks trace their origins to the Slavic peoples who migrated from the European-Asian frontier to the area between the Danube and the Carpathians in the fifth and sixth centuries As increasingly sophisticated agricultural peoples, those Slavs established permanent communities in the Morava, Ipel', Torysa, Vah, and Nitra river valleys.

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Slovaks share a common culture despite regional and even local differences in dialect, local customs, and religion.

The national flag became official on 1 January 1993, Independence Day.

The national anthem, Nad Tatrou Sa Blýska , translates as "Lightning over the Tatras." The lyrics refer to stormy times and the belief that Slovaks survive them, while their oppressors and opponents lose.

Along with Czech and Polish, it is classified as a western Slavic tongue in the Indo-European language family. Political circumstances beginning nearly a thousand years ago separated populations, but Slovak and Czech are still mutually intelligible.

There are three main dialects of Slovak, corresponding to the western, central, and eastern regions.

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