Numerous newspapers and magazines serve the Czech community in the United States, from "nationwide" publications such as Americke listy to regional titles like Czech Nebraska. There are also several internet websites and email newsletters, such as the weekly Dumpling News; it is produced by Zora Pergl, a woman of Czech descent based in Florida. I asked her how Dumpling News has been received since its launch in April last year.
The eve of St. Nicholas' Day, known as Mikulas in Czech, has always been special in the Czech Republic. Adults and many teenagers traditionally dress up as St Nicholas, an angel, and a devil, visiting children to see if they have been well-behaved. In the past, the experience could be quite scary for youngsters - especially the youngest - afraid the devil, complete with horns, chains, and shaggy fur coat, would take them away. But, it may be changing - nowadays more children seem to be taking it as just a chance to dress up.
With Christmas fast approaching, the figure of Santa Claus is to be seen all over the place in the Czech Republic - in decorations, on shopping bags and in store windows. But Santa is a relatively new phenomenon in this country. A similar figure, Mikulas (St Nicholas), visits children on December 5, while presents are delivered on December 24 by Jezisek, the Baby Jesus. Some Czechs resent the omnipresence of Santa Claus, among them the Creative Copywriters Club; they have set up a website with a simple message: Santa go home! I spoke to the group's
In the United States, Thanksgiving - one of the nation's most important holidays - is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In Prague this year, numerous establishments catered to Americans far from home by serving up traditional Thanksgiving food and hosting full-fledged turkey dinners. Emily Udell checked out a few Thanksgiving celebrations in Prague.
Although in most of the country there is no sign of snow, which is typically associated with Christmas in this part of the world, Christmas preparations have started in earnest. In a square close to the Czech Radio building, a Christmas market appeared on Monday. But probably the best-known Prague market, the one on the historic Old Town Square, is not going to open until next Saturday, December 2. Yet the tall Christmas tree which will dominate the square is already on its way to the capital.
The Mexican holiday Day of the Dead brings together the world of spirits and the world of the living. Celebrants spend the days from October 31 to November 2 remembering their deceased ancestors and preparing offerings to present at cemeteries and shrines. The lives of the dead are celebrated with a big feast that includes traditional foods like sweet bread and candy skulls. For the second year in a row, this tradition has been celebrated here in Prague.
Ludvik Vaculik, one of the Czech Republic's most popular authors, has a new book out, "Polepsene pesnicky," or "Improved Folk Songs." It's an absolutely unique volume, complete with a CD featuring Ludvik Vaculik singing his favorite Moravian songs. Those who know him are aware that music and folk songs are vitally important to Ludvik Vaculik, and now readers have a chance to gain an insight into how song has helped shape the identity of an author known for his very outspoken nature.
Simon Broughton is a successful British television director whose work includes a number of documentaries on music from around the world, shot in locations ranging from Portugal to Afghanistan. He is also editor of Songlines magazine, a leading British periodical devoted to world music as well as co-editor of the acclaimed Rough Guide to World Music.
Hedy Fromings was born Hedvika Honigenova in 1926. In the late 1940s she left Czechoslovakia, moving to the UK - where she had spent the war years - with her English husband. To maintain ties with her home country she became an active member of the British Czech Friendship League and a spin-off organisation, the Beskydy Dancers music and dance group; she eventually became the leader of the latter almost three decades ago.
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