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.
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.
In this month's Music Profile, we go back in time to the 1930s and the Liberated Theatre, where political satire and dadaist cabaret collided head on to a soundtrack of the latest scorching hot American jazz and blues. The music: near-blind piano virtuoso & composer Jaroslav Ježek. The words: avant garde merry pranksters Jan Werich and Jiří Voskovec. Tune in to Music Profile to find out more.
The latest film by the Czech director Bohdan Sláma Venkovský Učitel – Country Teacher – opened at cinemas around the Czech Republic on Thursday. In keeping with its creator’s previous pictures, Venkovský Učitel is a naturalistic and poignant drama. But the love triangle at its centre is rather unusual in the context of Czech cinema.
‘Limonádový Joe’ (Lemonade Joe) is a cult sixties Czech western cum musical about a lemonade salesman in the Wild West. The film started life as column in a newspaper written by Jiří Brdečka during the war, before becoming a theatre play, and then finally the all-singing, all-dancing, film production Czechs know and love today. Tereza Brdečková is a film critic and the daughter of Jiří Brdečka, the man who conceived the movie:
It is estimated that some ten million Roma live in Europe – the equivalent of the total population of the Czech Republic. But we hear very little about Romany writing. A new anthology published by the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno and called “Čalo vod’i” (Full Soul) is helping to put that right, bringing together four decades of prose written by Romany authors in the Czech Republic. All the stories were written in the Romany language, and this attractive hardback edition with parallel Romany and Czech texts offers rich insights into Romany life
In recent weeks no band has made as exciting an impact on the Czech scene as Airfare – an indie rock group made up of Czech-American frontman Thomas J. Lichtag, guitarist Lukáš Chromek and bass guitarist Tomáš Vitásek (TV) – plus guest drummers because they paradoxically haven’t been able to find a permanent one. Just last month the band was voted Best Newcomer of 2007 by viewers of Óčko – the Czech answer to MTV - and the band’s single, Sorry Baby, off their debut album “Hotel Moscow” has become an overnight hit.