Monday, April 17, 2017

Let the whippings commence

The moment we've all been waiting for...

.Get your Pomlázka out, boys!  There aren't many days in the year when ladies want a whipping gentle whipping.

So get out your Pomlázka and make your way through the village, neighborhood, apartment building, what have you.  But don't forget to start with the females in your home.  Some may not like it, some may like it more than they will admit, but these whippings gentle whippings chase away illnesses and bad spirits, and bring health and youth for the rest of the year.  Ladies, you know we are forever chasing that damn fountain of youth, so take it on the legs and be glad you didn't get doused with water (that's an alternative...).

Boys, recite “Hody, hody doprovody, dejte vejce malovaný, nedáte-li malovaný, dejte aspoň bílý, slepička vám snese jiný…”

Essentially, you're asking for eggs, an egg will do.  Preferably painted, but white will do just as well.

But these days who wants eggs?  These days you get money, or most likely shots of Slivovice (plum brandy) instead.  YES!

So all in all, when you break it down, Easter Monday is a day when 
ladies take a whipping gentle whipping to stay young & beautiful and the men get drunk.

Na zdraví!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Beranek SUCCESS!

Eggs & Whips

Happy Easter, Sunday!

If you haven't done so yet, dye those eggs and prepare your pomlázka for tomorrow's whippings gentle whippings.

In the Czech culture, today is a day to prepare for Easter Monday festivities, for Easter Monday trumps Easter Sunday.  

So I tried to be all Martha Stewart last night and dyed my eggs in a manner I have never even seen before, and it was SO. MUCH. *$@#*&%. FUN.  Not only that, it was super fast (cause who wants to be dying eggs for hours) and the color took way better than dipping an egg in a cup of dye and staring at it for minutes.  I highly suggest it to all of you who have yet to dye those eggs.  I may find myself dying eggs at random times throughout the year now simply because I want to shove my hands in shaving cream and slosh them around. Don't judge.

And don't even think about not dying eggs...or you will die.

Here is the video I somehow stumbled upon...

So good.  So, so good. 

Here are my eggs.  I recommend you watch the entire video, unlike myself.  I didn't leave the dyed shaving cream on my eggs for a while, just wiped them off straight away.  What can I say, I'm like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning tearing through presents.  Bur nevertheless, I like the pastel-color look they got.

And I won't die.

My next attempt, this guy:

I did't bake a Mazanec (gasp!), so am hoping that if I bake a Beránek, that all will be forgiven by the Superstitious Gods.

Here's a recipe in case you want to try your hand at Beranek

Men & boys... get your pomlázka ready for tomorrow!  Traditionally made from braided pussy willow, but if said pussy willow is not available, be creative.  And, go!

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".

Best start baking!

I didn't realize that Mazanec needs to be baked on White Saturday! Omg I need to get on it....or I will die!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Name Day, Anastázie! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Anastázie.  Happy name day, Anastázie!
The name Anastázie is the Czech form of Anastasia, which is of Greek origin and means "resurrection".

Anastasia Tremaine is who comes to mind when I hear the name Anastasia... from my beloved Cinderella

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Markets in Prague

If in Prague, don't forget to stroll through the Easter markets.

April 1st - 23rd, the markets are open daily in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.  Lots of Easter traditional crafts for purchase, as well as food and drink.

One VERY important item to purchase while at the market is a pomlázka (braided whip with a ribbon tied to the end).  More info to come, but you'll be glad to own one. Or more...

To read more about the Easter Markers and see additional photos, click here

Photo from

If you go, send me your photos!  I wish I could be there so will live vicariously through you.

Good Friday...aka Superstitious Friday

Velký pátek (Good Friday) is upon us, and it is a solemn day.  A day of remembrance, mourning, and fasting.  It is also a day to bake bread to protect your home from fire, amongst other things.  

You see, on Velký pátek, Czech cooks prepare the traditional holiday bread, which under no circumstances can be cut or eaten until the priest says, "Christ is risen!" (Kristus vstal z mrtvých!) on Easter Sunday.  You best be shooing the children and spouses out of the kitchen before they bust into the bread and the house bursts into flames.

It's also a custom to mark a new loaf of bread with the sign of the cross before cutting it, in order to bless it and thank God for it.  Bread baked on Velký pátek, if left to harden in the oven, can be kept all year and its presence protects the house from fire.  I don't want my home to burn down, but I certainly don't want stale bread sitting around attracting critters.  Damn it, what is one to do?!

While I ponder stale bread vs home burning down, let's move on to even more Good Friday superstitions.  What, you thought the bread was it?

Hahhahahaha, silly you!

We have more, lots more!  And you best adhere to them... or you will die.  Better get a move on as it is Good Friday and the day is short:

- Women put quilts out to air out in order to chase illnesses out of the house. 
- People get up very early (damn, sorry I already screwed you on this one) and hurry down to the river (a stream, babbling brook, puddle in middle of the road will all do) where they wash themselves with cold water and then cross the brook or stream with bare legs because this ensures good health for the entire next year. 
- Take your daughter down to wash at the well.  Don't have a well?  Best find something that will do for your daughter's future lies in your hands.  You see, this ritual ensures that your daughter will be pretty and well spoken for. 

It is also believed that water sprites come out onto dry land on Good Friday... perhaps you'll spot one when you're washing down by the river.  Looks like this:

In my town, this is the local drunk.

Moving on...

Now for some small talk, "How's the weather where you are?"  No, seriously, how's the weather?  This is important because the weather for the whole year is foretold based on Good Friday's weather. For instance, if it rains on Good Friday then the rest of the year will be dry. Velký pátek deštivý dělává rok žíznivý ("A rainy Good Friday makes for a thirsty year.").  Based on this, it is safe to conclude that if it is dry today, the rest of the year it will rain.  Bummer for me.

We also have some legends associated with Good Friday (shocker).  I'll share two of them with you:

- Anyone can look upon the sun without being blinded by its glare.  Try it, let me know how it goes for you.

- High up in the mountains amidst the cliffs there is the stone figure of a maiden. She is seated and holds in her lap an unfinished shirt, also of stone. Each year, on Velký pátek, at the hour of the Passion, she sews a stitch: one year, one stitch. When the shirt is finished, the world will end. Everything under the sun will die, and Judgement Day will be at hand.

I told you we were a grim bunch.

BUT, that being said I will leave you on a good note. No one should work on Good Friday out of respect ... or from superstitious fears because it is said that if one works, it will bring misfortune.

Do what you will with that, but if you're at work, may I suggest busting out of there as fast as possible screaming about avoiding misfortune as you tear down the door on your way out.

Happy Good Friday!

PS.  Do not eat meat.  Or you will die.... 

Happy Name Day, Vincenc! Všechno nejlepší k svátku!

Today we honor Vincenc.  Happy name day, Vincenc!
The name Vincenc is the Czech and Slovene form of Vincent, which means "to conquer".

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Our Easter Traditions Have Begun

As you may already know, we Czechs are a superstitious bunch.  I'm not talking superstitious as in don't walk under a ladder, or find a penny heads-up and you'll start seeing rainbows and unicorns will cross your path whilst pooping pots of gold.  We need to go darker here people.  Much, much darker... 

We need to go down a grim path "...or you will die."

So this joyous Easter holiday, don't worry about dying eggs in shades of crimson and gold.  Worry about not following our traditions.  Or you will die...

So I am a day late here as our traditions began yesterday with  Škaredá středa (Ugly Wednesday), also known as Spy Wednesday to remind us that it is the day that Judas betrayed Jesus.  We may or may not remember that as we are wildly busy cleaning the house from top to bottom, bottom to top, side to side, inside out.  Not a mattress is left unturned and not a rug has been left unbeaten.  Oh, and children?  They come straight home from school and help with the cleaning...


Ok, ok, now that I have composed myself, there is one tradition on Ugly Wednesday that we adhere to...eating honey.  It is said that if one eats honey on this day they will not be bitten by serpents.  

Guess you're shit out of luck if you didn't eat honey yesterday.  Sorry for the late notification.

Also on Ugly Wednesday, one is supposed to smile at everyone they meet.. If you don't didn't, then the entire year will be a sad one.  Again, my apologies.

But enough about yesterday, let's move on to today, better known as Zelený čtvrtek (Green Thursday).  Tonight, every boy in the neighborhood equips himself with a řehtačka (wooden rattle), looks like this:

Said boys rattle away as loud as can be to chase away Judas. Remember now, he betrayed Jesus. These noisy rattles will keep him away!  But you see, these boys will also come to your door... rattling.  Loudly.  Until you give them money.  Genius.

Green Thursday is also a day of fasting.  



Fasting for us is not eating meat.  Thus Green Thursday, a day to eat green vegetables.  These days, green beer will do just fine.  Bring on the fasting.

It seems that men should wake at midnight and walk to the nearest brook to wash themselves in honor and imitation of Jesus.  According to legend, Jesus tripped and fell into the Brook Kidron on His way to His hearing before the high priest.

Set that alarm clock, men... and off to the nearest stream you go!
...Or you will die.

PS... whips and shots of alcohol are part of this celebration, more on that tomorrow!

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.

Hello, Handsome

There are many famous Alexander's,... see for yourself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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".

A Julius we all know...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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."

Monday, April 10, 2017

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.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Five minutes to not-so-fluent

Who says you can't learn a language in 5 minutes? 
These are all the phrases you need to know anyway.  So with that being said.... GO!