In mid April the British crime writer Dick Francis received an award from the Czech publishing house Olympia, which enjoys the sole rights to publish his detective stories in Czech. Francis, well-known at home but incredibly popular here in the Czech Republic, was being rewarded by Olympia for his substantial contribution to the company's success.
In mid April the British crime writer Dick Francis received an award from the Czech publishing house Olympia, which enjoys the sole rights to publish his detective stories in Czech. Francis, well-known at home but incredibly popular here in the Czech Republic, was being rewarded by Olympia for his substantial contribution to the company's success. But Mr. Francis, a former jockey, spent much of his Czech visit talking about his life-long passion: horses. He began his visit to the Czech Republic in the town of Pardubice, home of the country's best-known horse race: the Pardubice Steeplechase. The crime writer, himself a former jockey, was photographed holding the reins of Peruan, who won the Pardubice on a number of occasions. At Thursday's press conference before receiving the award he shared his love of horses with the crowds of Czech journalists:
Mr. Francis was very successful in his racing career:In the end of April a festival of Celtic culture, Beltine, will be held in the Czech Republic, organized by the Brotherhood of Celts association, which came into being five years ago. I spoke with the brotherhood's chairman, Tomas Krivanek.
"Beltine is an old, pre-Christian holiday by which our predecessors some 2000 years ago celebrated the coming of a warm, sunny season. It used to be a very merry holiday with beer drinking and roasting pigs and other animals, and with huge bonfires - something like today's good bye to winter and welcome spring holiday that we celebrate in the end of April and call it "witch burning". The Beltine festival in the Czech Republic at present is a migrating holiday, which is organized for the 7th time already, alternatively in Bohemia and Moravia."
Mr. Krivanek told me there will be more than 150 performers at this year's Beltine festival which will feature horse riding, archery, dances and music. Visitors will see for instance the Petronila ensemble, which is considered the best dance group of Irish dances outside Ireland. But the greatest attraction will undoubtedly be the Luarna Lubre group from Galicia in Spain, a world famous Celtic music band which often accompanies Mike Oldfield both at concerts and in recording studios.
This year's Beltine will take place in Moravia, in the village of Nesovice near Brno, and I asked Mr. Krivanek why did the organizers choose this location?
"Nesovice is an extremely interesting place because there's a chateau there - a pure Italian Renaissance in the middle of Moravia - second, this chateau has never been open to the public and it is likely to fall into private hands so there won't be any chance to see it in the future either. And last but not least the Nesovice mayor welcomes us with an outstretched hand - and the thing is that the Beltine festival can only take place in a location whose representatives show understanding for such a venture."
Experience from the previous years shows that there are usually some 2000 people taking part in the Beltine holiday celebrations. In fact the organizers don't want the number exceeding several thousand people because it wouldn't be a family-like venture and that's what they want it to be.
The Beltine Celtic festival will take place on April 30th and May 1st, so if Celtic culture is your cup of tea, don't hesitate and join other fans on their way to Nesovice. It should be worth it.
Here is a sample of Luarna Lubre's music:
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