Traditional carnival celebrations preceding the beginning of lent are taking place all over the Czech capital, with many neighborhoods organizing their own celebrations. Prague’s Žižkov district holds the claim to the longest running post-communist tradition of Masopust festivities, as they are called in Czech. This year, Žižkov celebrates the twentieth Masopust in the neighborhood.
Well-known Czech folklorist Radomil Rejšek, the author of a number of key texts on traditional song and dance and teacher of folkloric traditions who influenced generations of young students, died on Thursday morning at the age of 83. Mr Rejšek was a co-founder and long-time member of the Joseph Vycpálek Ensemble of Song and Dance (Souboru písní a tanců Josefa Vycpálka). For his efforts on the international scene, Mr Rejšek received the highest recognition from the International Organisation of Folk Art – honorary membership. The news of Mr Rejšek’s death was released by Kazimír Jánoška, the editor-in-chief of Folklor magazine.
Christmas is the season to be merry, and in many cultures it is also a season of giving. In the Czech Republic this is only a growing trend, and given the uncertain economic climate, charity is not necessary the first thing on people’s minds. Radio Prague spoke to Michael Stannett, the head of the Czech branch of the Salvation Army, or Armada Spasy, in Czech, and asked him if the current economic downturn has had a negative effect on how much people were willing to open their pocketbooks this Christmas season.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic church, Archbishop Dominik Duka, hosted Christmas lunch for homeless people. The lunch, organized for the 14th time by the Sant'Egidio community, was held in the Archbishop Palace and the Capuchin Monastery in Hradčany. Some 270 guests arrived to enjoy the traditional liver dumpling soup, beef in cream sauce, roast duck with cabbage and dumplings, and Christmas cookies. Every guest also received a small gift.
On Christmas Eve, most Czech families will like every year sit down to special dinner before rushing to the Christmas tree. They will unwrap their presents and some might sing a few carols, and even engage in some traditional Christmas customs such as floating walnut shells, halving an apple or even pouring melted led. But most people are just likely to sit back and watch TV which each year features all the popular fairytales. But what happens in families with mixed backgrounds? How do they celebrate Christmas and explain the different traditions
Some of the nine presidential candidates will suspend their campaigns during the Christmas holidays, the news agency ČTK reported on Friday. The frontrunner, Jan Fischer, said people should have some time off politics during the upcoming holiday season while Foreign Minster Karel Schwarzenberg will spend Christmas with his family and will resume campaigning in the New Year. Independent candidate Táňa Fischerová said Christmas was a spiritual holiday with no room for politics. Jana Bobošíková and Vladimír Franz also said they would suspend their campaigns until next month.
With Christmas just around the corner, a search is underway in many households’ attics or basements for ornaments that will – in due time – decorate the Christmas tree. In many families, trees will be adorned with the colourful glass globes, spikes, figurines and other baubles whose tradition in the Czech Republic goes back to the times of the Great Depression. In this edition of Marketplace, we follow the story of Ozdoba CZ, one of the oldest Czech producers of glass Christmas ornaments
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