The legendary runner Emil Zátopek and his wife Dana, a javelin thrower, made history at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, when they won altogether four gold medals for Czechoslovakia. The story of one of the world’s most famous sporting couples is the focus of a new film by David Ondříček, which has just started shooting.
Metronome, Prague’s biggest music festival, will bring the likes of Liam Gallagher and Kraftwerk to the Výstaviště exhibition grounds for its fourth edition on June 21 and 22. A few weeks prior to that, the city will host the free festival United Islands of Prague, which first took place exactly 15 years ago, when the Czech Republic was celebrating accession to the EU. Both of these events are the brainchild of promoter David Gaydečka. When we spoke at his company’s bustling offices, I first asked Gaydečka how he had got into music promotion.
The country’s leading orchestras came together on Tuesday this week to perform a charity concert in aid of the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The concert took place at Prague’s Rudolfinum. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, The Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia and the ensembles of the National Theater and the State Opera performed Antonín Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, under the baton of Tomáš Netopil, the guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.
The Czech Republic’s cultural heritage is set to become more accessible than ever after the Ministry of Culture announced it will create a freely accessible central database of the country’s heritage online. Dubbed Czechiana, the EU funded project will make it possible to see anything from maps, pictures and diaries normally located in Czech museums and galleries, on the internet by November 2020.
In a wide-ranging interview at the start of Holy Week, leading up to Easter, the Roman Catholic priest Tomáš Petráček – a leading church and social historian – talks about the pagan, Slavic, communist and Hapsburg influences on the position of the church in Czech society over the centuries, and why, in his mind, painting eggs and pre-Christian fertility rites have a welcome place at Easter alongside the liturgy.
Our Easter Sunday music show is dedicated to an album called Studánko Rubínko or Ruby Well by the band Hradišťan, one of the country’s most respected performers of folk music. The album, intended for children and their parents, includes songs, nursery rhymes, poems and carols, connected with spring time and Easter.
Traditional Easter celebrations in the Czech Republic have a strong religious connotation. However, many of the customs connected with this season date back to pre-Christian days. This is especially true of the eastern part of the country. Moravia is a historically and culturally distinct region and this is reflected also in the way local people celebrate this most important Christian holiday of the year.
Easter in the Czech Republic is a colourful mix of Christian and pagan traditions. People savor both the spiritual dimension of the holiday and celebrate the coming of spring. For this Easter special I met with food critic Petra Pospěchová to talk about Easter foods, Easter traditions, why so many people who are not practicing Christians go to Easter mass and why she, who is a believer, enjoys getting the traditional “whipping” on Easter Monday. Here are some of her thoughts on the second most popular holiday in the Czech Republic.