"Hey Master, get up, quickly!" Those are the opening words of the most famous piece of Czech Christmas Music. Composed by a small-town teacher, Jakub Jan Ryba, in 1896, "Ceska mse vanocni" or "Czech Christmas Mass" has the structure of a classic pastoral mass - only it is not located at Jesus Christ's birthplace but somewhere in snow-covered Central Bohemia. The lyrics describe a village scene where a farm hand wakes up his master to tell him about a strange heavenly light. The master is a little morose at first but then he gets up to have a look and
In this week's edition: Christmas in the Czech Republic, length and time of transmission of Radio Prague's broadcasts, Radio Prague's QSL cards for 2005, honey cake recipe. Listeners quoted: Muhammad Shamim, India; K. Thiagarajan, India; Jonathan Murphy, Ireland; J. Bettelheim, England; Gordon Blom, USA; Nick Sharpe, England.
From Russia, with love: the Czech who wants a civilian airliner for Christmas, and has gone all the way to Russia for it. Prostitutes celebrate Christmas as well! And, "Christmas behind bars" - some Czech prisoners are already baking Christmas cookies! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
As Christmas approaches the hysteria over finding the right Christmas tree is reaching a feverish pitch. I can see it as I lunch at a pizzeria in Prague's Smichov district: one customer after another gesticulating wildly over trees being sold on the corner, the seller running to and fro with a measuring tape. Customers inspect the trees with a keen eye. All manner of common defects are looked for: too tall, too spiky, too shabby, too lop-sided, a tree full on one side and flat on the other.
Many people from Prague's large ex-pat community would balk at the idea of having a carp for Christmas dinner. In places like Ireland and England, the fish is hardly ever eaten as it's considered to be a "dirty" animal. Luckily for many ex-pats, the British-owned Robertson's Butchers has now been supplying meat products that are very common in other countries on the Prague market as well. This includes providing turkeys and hams for people's Christmas dinners.
For those of you living in Prague with children, there is always something interesting to do at Toulcuv dvur, an environmental education centre for children. The aim of the centre is to teach children and their families about living in harmony with nature. Geese, sheep, goats and pigs are a few of the farm animals that can be found on site. They have over forty original programs about animals and the environment. Moreover, they highlight Czech folk traditions which are very much connected to rhythms of the natural world. This month they have been
With Christmas around the corner the Czech Republic has turned into a one big Christmas market. Christmas trees are now being sold in many streets and before long traditional Christmas carp will appear in big cisterns on street corners, in preparation for the Czech Christmas dinner. Although Christmas decorations have been increasingly influenced by western fashion, natural materials remain the most popular, as can be seen at exhibitions of Nativity scenes to be found in many places around the Czech Republic
The weeks before Christmas may symbolize to some people hasty shopping in crowded stores or the rush to get the Christmas preparations ready. But others try to get away from the rush by attending various concerts and events related to Christmas. Many of these events are staged by amateur choirs. There are literally hundreds of choirs in the Czech Republic, and Christmas is their peak season.
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