Compact archive April 18, 2006

Easter traditons from view of female foreigner

Czech tradition of whipping girl with pomlazka on Easter Monday can be for someone surprising, strange or confusing. But this tradition is, after Christmas one of strongest in Czech country.
And even it may looks brutal, it’s not true. And what may be for someone surprising, girls enjoy it too. And fact is that no one can be forced to be whipped. But i thing that this tradition is so specific that will survive many years in Czech Republic.

The whipping generally occurs on either the legs or the buttocks. The name of the whip—and the “flogging festival” itself—is the pomlázka. The tradition is a pagan one, and perhaps regrew in popularity during Communist times, in which celebrating the religious focus of Easter was generally forbidden. (Also due to this, Easter Monday and not at all Good Friday or even Easter Sunday is the most celebrated day here). The pomlazka whip is traditionally made of braided willow twigs, but these days men typically just buy them.

Whole article is here


Matzah problems in Prague

Easter time is of course not only a Christian feast, but also Jewish feast. And there you cand find out how difficullt is to find Matzah, traditional Hebrew feast food. Especially when you speak only English in state where everyone speaks Czech and most of people are atheistic or Christian.

So I write down all necessary information and hit the streets, off to the Jewish quarter. Though my jacket has a hood, I am umbrella-less, and am only so protected by the hood. Especially from cars which like to drive too close to the curb. And given Prague’s fantastic street drainage ability, I didn’t stay that dry for that long.
I make it to the address I have written down – it’s a synagogue in Josefov. All doors are locked. There’s a sign that reads “entry is restricted” right next to the list of all the services they conduct. Hmm.
Standing in the rain coming from both the sky and the tires of passing cars, I call to confirm matzah is available. The lady on the other end does not speak English. And given my difficulties with the face-to-face conversation asking for matzah, I didn’t bother to do that over the phone. I’m put on hold while the lady searches for someone who speaks English.

Stalls are reduced in Prague centre

Stalls in Prague centre can be seen in most visited places like Old Town Square, Wenceslas square, Karlovo or Miru square.
Number of them is about four hundred until Thursday. Then sixty of them have to be closed, mostly in Karlovo and Wenceslas square. Still market on Old Town Square ends with New Year. This steps Prague council made, because they don’t want to look center of Prague like bazaar.

On the other hand, restaurant gardens can be open until 11 PM or midnight in selected ones.


Seven years of misfortune in Petrin maze

Popular attraction on Petrin hill – Prague mirror maze is partially closed.
Two of crooked mirrors in second part of maze are broken. The mirrors were damaged by some visitor, but it s not clear exactly who, because of big group of people. This part of maze was closed, because there is danger that two mirrors could tip out. Now these crooked mirrors are replaced by simple straight as a temporary disposal.

The new crooked ones will cost about twenty thousand crowns, but biggest problem is to find a producer.

As a satisfaction, entrance fee is lowered to forty crowns. Petrin maze can be visited every day from 10 AM to 7 PM.