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.
More than a hundred years after his death, fans of Antonín Dvořák have a chance to hear a new piece by one of the greatest Czech composers. An artificial intelligence programme called AIVA recently completed a fragment of his piano composition in E-minor. It was recorded by the acclaimed Czech pianist Ivo Kahánek.
Czech That Film, an annual festival of contemporary Czech films, is currently underway across the United States and Canada. The largest Czech cultural event in North America offers both Czech expats and US film enthusiasts a chance to get acquainted with present-day Czech cinematography and meet some of the filmmakers in person.
Lazer Viking are very much the brainchild of Jakub Kaifosz, who also records with Wild Tides and is a Radio Wave DJ. Following Radical Karaoke (2015) and Flesh Cadillac (2016, in collaboration with Sabreheart), Lazer Viking have just released their wonderful third LP, Drag, on which Kaifosz is now backed by a band. The new collection again showcases the Prague musician’s topnotch songwriting, excellent vocals and guitar-playing and – with song titles such as Hum and Rattle and The Last Waltz – deep immersion in pop culture.
A bust of the late Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is due to be unveiled at Prague’s DOX gallery this coming Monday. The ceremony is part of an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Among the guests will be Liu Xiaobo’s widow and two of the former student leaders.