It’s Monday evening and the ballroom in Prague’s Lucerna is slowly filling up with teenagers in evening dresses. Girls are rushing to the dressing room to take off their trainers and slip into high-heeled shoes while boys are instructed to tuck in their shirts and spit out their chewing gums before they are allowed onto the dance floor. A lot has changed since 15 years ago, when I used to come here, but the tradition of Czech dancing lessons or “taneční”, as they are called, appears to enjoy the same popularity.
Representatives of Czech communities from all over the world are gathering in Prague this week for a new festival celebrating Czech culture outside the Czech Republic. The first annual folklore festival for krajane, or Czechs living abroad, has the support of members of the Senate, where the festival had its inaugural ceremony on Monday. The highlights of the festival include an exhibit of traditional handicrafts, projections of documentary films concerning Czech culture outside the Czech Republic, as well as presentations of traditional folk singing
One could have been mistaken for thinking oneself to be anywhere other than Prague this weekend, as the streets came alive with Latin music and Brazilian flags. This was however neither an attempted takeover from across the Atlantic nor a confused expression of misplaced cultural identity. It was the city's annual carnival. Beginning on a Prague square, winding its way through the streets of Smichov to Prague's artificial beach where the party continued, the festival was an attempt to turn the potentially depressing end of the holiday season into
Wilber, Nebraska, is a hub for Czech-Americans, and was appointed 'Czech capital of the USA' by congress back in 1987. Over the 3rd, 4th and 5th of August, it held its annual Czech Days festival, for the 46th time. The town of 1,700 welcomed some 50,000 visitors, and treated them to traditional Czech food, traditional Czech music, and some good old Americana as well. Following on from the celebrations, I called Russ Karpisek, the state senator for Wilber district. Going on the croaky-sound of Senator Karpisek's voice, I asked if there had been a
One of the oldest and most popular folklore festivals in Europe kicked off at Straznice in southern Moravia on Thursday. With over 15,000 visitors every year, Czech folk bands, singers and dancers, consider it the 'Mecca' of all folklore festivals. Over 2,000 participants from the Czech Republic and abroad will perform during 31 events. The festival comes to a close this Sunday.
Radio Prague's special Easter programme focuses on the music of Czech composer and conductor Jaroslav Krcek, who has arranged and recorded a number of traditional folk songs pertaining to this time of year as well as a number of his own compositions, which draw heavily on Czech Easter traditions for their inspiration.
It's 10am in the south Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice. Just like on any other day, Czech Radio's local station starts its daily show Pisnicky pro radost, "Songs to lift your spirit", knowing its listenership is about to shoot up and stay up for the three hours in which one brass music song after the next is dedicated to locals.
The 'Masopust' - or Carnival - in Prague's Zizkov quarter is set to come to a climax on Tuesday. 'Masopust' always takes place towards the end of winter, before the start of Lent. And though many Czechs no longer celebrate it, the tradition of 'Masopust' is slowly making a comeback. The Zizkov Town Hall has been organizing its own carnival for 14 years.
Thursday 15 was Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before the fasting period of Lent, as celebrated in Italy, German and Poland, for example. According to tradition, one is supposed to eat large quantities of food, which is forbidden during Lent. Even though not traditionally celebrated in the Czech Republic, the day marked the beginning of "Bohemian Carnevale", a festival which is trying to revive Renaissance carnival traditions in the heart of Central Europe.
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