Dudy is the Czech word for the bagpipes and Call of Dudy is the title of a documentary film focused on the Bohemian piping tradition. Featuring lots of great music and interesting interviews, it takes viewers to the instrument’s traditional strongholds in south and west Bohemia, and over the border into Bavaria.
The Sokol gymnastics organisation was founded in Prague in 1862 during the Czech National Revival, and is still active today in the Czech Republic, and elsewhere. This Sunday, Sokol Minnesota is celebrating its 125th anniversary at a building in St Paul called the Czech-Slovak Protective Society – it originally served as a kind of insurance agency for Czechs and Slovaks in Minnesota. I called Joe Landsberger, who is organising the anniversary celebrations.
Czech scientists have invented paint that lowers the concentration of harmful substances in the air. Across most of the country boys whip girls on Easter Monday, but in the town of Telč it’s the girls doing the whipping. And, where have all the tractors gone? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Easter caroling in the town of Louny ended in violence on Monday when a man attacked a group of carolers who’d come to his front door. The man yelled that they were trespassing on private property, accused the boys of having stolen several bottles of beer from his porch and started beating them with a rod. When the father of the boys who was with them came out in their defense the aggressor shot him in the leg. The boys are in hospital with concussion. Police are investigating the incident.
I’m here in the Vysočina region of the Czech Republic, in a small village in the midst of hills, fresh air and idyllic countryside. Next to me are a couple of young ladies who are preparing a Morana which is the god of winter. Basically what happens is that you make a figure out of some branches which are just being put together now, and that is going to be taken for a long walk and we’re going to find a river and set alight to it. Thus, symbolically saying goodbye and setting fire to winter.
Czechs may be one of the most secular nations in Europe, but when it comes to Christian holidays such as Easter or Christmas, they are very keen to observe traditions, even if they don’t know anything about their origin. The Easter holiday has always symbolized the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is a movable holiday, with Easter Sunday following the first full moon after the first day of spring. This year, Easter has fallen on March 23rd and 24th. But whether it comes a week earlier or a week later, the weather here in the Czech
The sun has just come out over Prague’s Old Town Square, and the Easter market is now looking a lot less sodden - and a lot more appealing - than it was five minutes ago. So, I’m going to take advantage of this little window of good weather to ask some of the people shopping at the Easter market about what they are buying, and some of the stall holders about the traditional crafts that they are selling.
Children in Northern Bohemia have set a new world record this Easter Sunday for painting the largest Easter egg ever. The egg was made out of papier mache and came in at over two meters in height. A representative of the Guinness book of records was on site at Červený Hrádek chateau to confirm that the egg painted by the castle’s younger visitors had made it into the Czech version of the book. It took a group of children the whole afternoon to paint the massive decorative egg.
Prague’s traditional Easter market on Old Town Square opened on Saturday, March 8th. Visitors will find stalls selling food and a wide variety of Easter goods including hand-painted eggs, wooden toys and intricate lace-work. An outdoor stage has been set up for the performances of choirs, folk music and dance ensembles from around the country. The market is open from 9am to 7 pm daily, and until 8pm on weekends.
All over the world couples are celebrating - and singletons are doing their best to ignore - the fact that February 14th is St. Valentine’s Day. The romantic festival has no real tradition in the Czech Republic, though in recent years, it has been becoming more and more popular. The Czech capital’s florists in particular have been enjoying a good day’s trade. Zuzana is an employee at one of Prague’s most up-market florists:
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