Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Name Day, Blahoslav! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Blahoslav.  Happy name day, Blahoslav!
The name Blahoslav is a Czech name of Slavonic origin and means "fame; glory".

Happy Belated Name Day, Vlastislav & Robert Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Happy belated name day to the following people:

On Saturday (4/28), we honored Vlastislav.  Happy belated name day, Vlastislav!
The name Vlastislav is of Czech origin and is derived from the Slavic elements vlast "homeland" and slav "glory".

On Sunday (4/29), we honored Robert.  Happy belated name day, Robert!

The name Robert is of Old German origin, meaning "bright fame".  Robert has been a favorite name for boys since the Middle Ages.  It's especially favored by the Scots due to 14th-century King Robert the Bruce.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Name Day, Jaroslava! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Jaroslava.  Happy name day, Jaroslava!
The name Jaroslava is of Slavonic origin and means "glory of spring".

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Name Day, Oto! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Oto.  Happy name day, Oto!
The name Oto is the Czech form of Otto, which is of Germanic origin and means "wealth; fortune".

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Name Day, Marek! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Marek.  Happy name day, Marek!
The name Marek is the Czech form of Mark, which is of Latin origin and means "dedicated to Mars; from the God Mars".

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Name Day, Jiří. Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Jiří.  Happy name day, Jiří!
The name Jiří is the Czech form of George, which is of Greek origin and means "farmer".  St. George was a 3rd- century Roman soldier from Palestine who was martyred during the persecutions of emperor Diocletian.  Later legends describe his defeat of a dragon, with which he was often depicted in medieval art.

Painting by Gustave Moreau depicting Saint George slaying the dragon

Happy Belated Name Day Alexandra, Evženie & Vojtěch!

A very happy belated name day goes out to the following people:

April 21st - Happy belated name day, Alexandra!
The name Alexandra is of Greek origin and means "man's defender".  It's the Latinate feminine form of Alexander.  The name Alexandra was seldom used in the English-speaking world before the 20th century.  It became very popular in Britain after the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) married the Danish Princess Alexandra in 1863.

Alexandra of Denmark

April 22nd - Happy belated name day, Evženie!

The name Evženie is the Czech form of Eugenia, which is of Old Greek origin and means "well born; noble".

April 23rd - Happy belated name day, Vojtěch!

The name Vojtěch is the Czech form of Wojciech, which is of Polish origin and means "solace, comfort, joy".

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Name Day, Marcela! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Marcela.  Happy name day, Marcela! 
The name Marcela is a variant of Marcella, which is of Latin origin and means "dedicated to Mars".  

Saint Marcella was a Roman matron.  She was widowed after nine months of marriage, refused to marry Cerealis, the consul, and formed a group of noble ladies to live a life of austerity and asceticism. She was tortured by the Goths looting Rome in 410 to force her to reveal the whereabouts of her wealth, which she had long since given to the poor, was released, but dies shortly after, in August.  Her feat day is January 31st.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Name Day, Rostislav! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Rostislav. Happy name day, Rostislav!
The name Rostislav is of Czech origin and means "to usurp glory".

Saint Rastic or Rastiz (in modern Slovak Rastislav) was the second ruler of Great Moravia between 846 until his death in 870.  He was canonized in October 1994 by the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church.  His feast day is May 11.

Prince Ratislav

Happy Belated Name Day, Valérie! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Yesterday we honored Valérie.  Happy belated name day, Valérie!
The name Valérie is the Czech form of Valerie, which is of Latin origin and means "strong, healthy".

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Name Day, Rudolf! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Rudolf.  Happy name day, Rudolf!
The name Rudolf is the Czech form of Rudolph, which is of Old German origin and means "famous wolf".

This is my favorite Rudolph!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Name Day, Irena! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Irena.  Happy name day, Irena!
The name Irena is a variant of Irene, which is of Greek origin and means "peace".

Happy Belated Name Day, Vincenc and Anastázie! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

This past weekend we honored Vincenc and Anastázie...

On April 14th we honored Vincenc.  Happy belated name day, Vincenc!
The name Vincenc is the Czech and Slovene form of Vincent, which means "to conquer".

Yesterday, April 15th, we honored Anastázie.  Happy belated name day, Anastázie!
The name Anastázie is the Czech form of Anastasia, which is of Greek origin and means "resurrection".

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Name Day, Aleš! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Aleš.  Happy name day, Aleš!
The name Aleš is of Greek origin and means "man's defender, warrior".  It's the short form of Alexander and often used independently as Alexander has become more and more popular.  It's one of the few names used with equal frequency for both genders.  

The most famous bearer of the name was Alexander the Great, King of Macedon.  In the 4th century BC, he built a huge empire out of Greece, Egypt, Persia and parts of India.  Due to his fame, and later medieval tales involving him, use of his name spread throughout Europe.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Name Day, Julius! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Julius.  Happy name day, Julius!
The name Julius is of Greek origin and means "Jove's child". 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to my beloved Babi

Today is my beloved grandmother's birthday and I want her to know that she is in my thoughts daily, and in my heart forever.

I love you, Babi!

Happy Name Day, Izabela! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Izabela.  Happy name day, Izabela!
The name Izabela is the Czech form of Isabella/Isabel, which is of Hebrew origin and means "God's promise."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Name Day, Darja! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Darja.  Happy name day, Darja!
The name Darja is the Slovene and Czech form of Daria, which is the feminine form of Darius.  Darius is the Roman form of Dareios, which was the Greek form of the Persian name Dārayavahush.  Three ancient kings of Persia bore this name, including Darius the Great who invaded Greece but was defeated in the Battle of Marathon. It has never been very common as a given name in the English-speaking world, though it rose in popularity after the middle of the 20th century.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Name Day, Dušan! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Dušan.  Happy name day, Dušan!
The name Dušan is of Czech origin and means "essence".  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!! 
And a very special Easter hug goes out to my family ...I love you!

I have to tell you about the strangest, yet funniest, Easter tradition that we have! ...
The "pomlázka" is a traditional whip braided out of pussywillows (or other springtime branches) that men and boys of all ages plait on Easter Sunday (or they buy them at almost any shop around this time of the year). The pomlázka can be any length and braided from three to twelve branches.  The origin of the pomlázka tradition (pomlázka meaning both the whip and the tradition itself) dates back to pagan times.  Its original purpose and symbolic meaning is to chase away illness and bad spirits and bring health and youth for the rest of the year to everyone who is whipped.  In the past, pomlázka was not only used by boys to whip girls (um, I should clarify...they whip them on the dirty thoughts!!!), but also by the farmer's wife to whip the livestock, as well as everyone in the household, including men and children. 
Boys would whip girls lightly on the legs and possibly douse them with water, which had a similar symbolic meaning.  An Easter carol, usually asking for an egg or two, would be recited by the boy while whipping.  The girl would then reward the boy with a painted egg or candy and tie a ribbon around his pomlázka.  As the boys progressed through the village, their bags filled up with eggs and their pomlázkas were adorned with more and more colorful ribbons.
Although it may have lost its symbolism and romance and is now performed mainly for fun, this tradition is still largely upheld, especially in villages and small towns.  Some boys and men seem to have forgotten that the whipping is supposed to be only symbolic and girls don't always like that.  The reward has also changed - money and shots of plum brandy (Slivovice) are often given instead of, or in addition to, painted eggs and candy.  As you can imagine, by early afternoon groups of happy men can be seen staggering along the roads!  All that aside, Easter still remains one of the most joyful and fun holidays on the Czech calendar.

The Color Red
Red and other bright colors symbolize health, joy, happiness and new life that comes with the spring.  So paint those Easter eggs red!

All in all, Easter is a time of high spirits and happy celebrations in small villages.  I wish you all a joyful day and a very Happy Easter! 

Veselé Velikonoce!

Happy Name Day, Ema! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Ema.  Happy name day, Ema!
The name Ema is a variant of Emma, which is of Old French and Old German origin and means "entire; universal". 

Happy Belated Name Day, Herman and Hermína! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Yesterday I wished Iveta a happy name day when in fact, Iveta has to wait until June 7th (sorry, Iveta, my bad).  Yesterday we meant to honor Herman and Hermína.  Happy belated name day, Herman and Hermína!
The name Hermína is a variant of Herminia, which is of Spanish origin, and Hermione, which is of Greek origin.  The meaning of Hermína is "messenger; earthly".

The name Herman is of Old German origin, meaning "soldier".

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Traditions...Happy White Saturday!

Today is White Saturday (Bílá sobota), a day when boys walk through the village with rattles on until residents at each house give them money (hmmm, if only it were so easy!)

There's so much more to White Saturday though.  It is regarded, along with Zelený čtvrtek (Green Thursday), as a lucky day for sowing. The farmers place ashes on their fields to ensure a good crop, and shake the trees, so that they'll yield a lot of fruit.

White Saturday used to be a day of peace and quiet.  Daytime church services were not held at all, and services were held instead either in the evening hours after the sun went down, or after midnight.  Only blessed candles and lights were used in the church during these nighttime services.  Because of the Virgin Mary's faith in His promise to rise again from the dead, the day is consecrated to her.

Easter picture by Josef Lada

They say that if it rains on Bílá sobota, it will rain often during the coming year.  Well, it's sunny and warm where I am... yay!!!

If you're in the Czech Republic on Bílá sobota, take time to stand a while in front of the church in Domaľlice, Kyjov, Blatnice, Břeclav or Vlčnov and enjoy the ceremonial costumes of the women and girls.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Name Day, Vendula! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Vendula.  Happy name day, Vendula!
The name Vendula is of Czech origin and the diminutive of Václava, which is the Czech feminine form of Wenceslas.  The name Wenceslas means "more glory".  Saint Wenceslas was a 10th-century duke of Bohemia.  He is the patron saint of the Czech Republic. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Name Day, Miroslava! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Miroslava.  Happy name day, Miroslava!
The name Miroslava is the feminine form of Miroslav and is of Slavic origin.  Its meaning is "peace and glory", derived from the Slavic elements mir "peace" and slav "glory".  This was the name of a 10th-century king of Croatia, who presided over a civil war.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Belated Name Day, Erika and Richard! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Wishing a very happy belated name day to...

Happy belated name day, Erika!
The name Erika is a variant of Erica, which is of Old Norse origin and means  "forever or alone, ruler".

Happy belated name day, Richard!
The name Richard is of Old German origin and means "powerful leader".  Richard has always been a very popular name throughout the English-speaking world. It was first imported to England by the Normans, though it is derived from the Germanic elements "ric" (power) and "hard" (strong, hardy). The original form was probably pronounced with a hard C (RICK hart).

Happy Name Day, Ivana! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

 Today we honor Ivana. Happy name day, Ivana! 
The name Ivana is of Czech and Slavic origin.  It is the feminine form of Ivan, from John (Hebrew), meaning "Jehovah is gracious".

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Name Day, Hugo! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Hugo.  Happy name day, Hugo!
The name Hugo is of Germanic origin and means "mind, heart or spirit".