One Christmas carol that doesn't hail from the Czech Republic is the one about Good King Wenceslas, although he is this country's patron Saint and ruled here in the 10th century, until he was disposed of by the fratricidal Boleslav. The snow hasn't exactly been "deep and crisp and even" either so far this winter, but there is plenty of Christmas spirit about. Christmas Eve is the big day for Czech children, when "Jezisek" - the Infant Jesus - brings the presents, after the family has enjoyed a meal of fried carp and potato salad. And there is also
You're listening to a Christmas edition of SoundCzech - Radio Prague's Czech language series in which you'll learn useful phrases through song lyrics. Today we chose a popular Christmas song for you, called "Vánoce přicházejí" or "Christmas is coming" which pokes fun at the fretful atmosphere and nervous chaos in the house when Christmas is drawing close.
The Czech-born Catholic theologian Tomas Spidlik is a specialist on Eastern and Slavic Christian spirituality and also a prolific author. Even though he has not lived in this country since 1951, many Czechs know his voice well from his regular appearances on Vatican Radio. Cardinal Spidlik spoke earlier to Radio Prague on the line from the Vatican about the significance of Christmas.
Amid the feverish pre-Christmas preparations, few people have time to stop and think about the holiday's religious significance. That's true all over the world perhaps, but here in the Czech Republic there's also the added concern that traditional Czech Christmas traditions such as presents being delivered by the Baby Jesus are being shoved aside by Western imports such as Santa Claus. So what does Christmas mean to someone who does hold religious beliefs? Rob Cameron spoke to writer and philosopher Erazim Kohak, an active member of the evangelical
Ana Geislerova is one of the Czech Republic's most popular young actresses, having appeared in hit films such as "Sileni", or "Lunacy", and "Kraska v Nesnazich", or "Beauty in Trouble", which is in theaters now. All this past weekend, however, she's been doing something a little different: running a charity swap meet.
Numerous newspapers and magazines serve the Czech community in the United States, from "nationwide" publications such as Americke listy to regional titles like Czech Nebraska. There are also several internet websites and email newsletters, such as the weekly Dumpling News; it is produced by Zora Pergl, a woman of Czech descent based in Florida. I asked her how Dumpling News has been received since its launch in April last year.
The eve of St. Nicholas' Day, known as Mikulas in Czech, has always been special in the Czech Republic. Adults and many teenagers traditionally dress up as St Nicholas, an angel, and a devil, visiting children to see if they have been well-behaved. In the past, the experience could be quite scary for youngsters - especially the youngest - afraid the devil, complete with horns, chains, and shaggy fur coat, would take them away. But, it may be changing - nowadays more children seem to be taking it as just a chance to dress up.
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