Thursday, May 1, 2008
We attended our town's Witches Burning Night, čarodějnice or Valpuržina noc in Czech, celebration this evening. Women & children dressed as witches, played games set up by the fire department, and the whole town barbecued over a bonfire (burnt with a scare-crow witch atop) in the square. There was also a contest for the best witch costumes. Later, I believe there were thousands of little private bonfires and parties. Schools were out early, and will be closed for the rest of the week. I'm posting if only to share what I've pieced together about the series of holidays that seems to commence beginning with April 30. May Day marks many things here, and luckily the celebrations seem to revolve around the children. It is a state holiday, once a mandatory celebration under communism, referred to as Labour Day, meant to rally support for the political party it outlawed May Day parades and more traditional celebrations of the coming of Spring. After the fall of communism here, participation in the holiday changed meaning for many people, and it seems more pagan rituals re-emerged as a symbol of protest against the former state mandated celebrations. Other things I've found describe a Love Day where people often gather and kiss a certain statue in Prague. NO ONE in my village has mentioned anything about any of that to us. I think holidays are wildly different, and I use wild for a reason, in our remote area. I've found so much conflicting information regarding this time of year, that I will have to just go on what we experience, rather than Wikipedia (novel approach). We have some really nice people around us all celebrating & inviting us to their traditional parties & events. This morning I will attend a Fairy tale hike with Thomas, tomorrow we will attend a huge children's affair with our friends in Kamenice, in the evening there will be a jazz concert & Chad will help them barbecue, Saturday we will attend a traditional barbecue garden party for this time of year thrown by Peter Rath to also celebrate the beginning of his foot journey to Vienna from Kamenicky Senov with a wheelbarrow filled with glass. The only thing I know to be prepared for is to costume Thomas, um yeah right for 5 seconds, and barbecue. There is, of course, lots of beer and holiday specific sausages involved in these celebrations. I bought 3 packages of tofu yesterday, mixed up some hummus, but sadly I'm running out of the jar of peanut butter I scored last week ALREADY. Chad totally thinks we're having a girl. At least the nausea has become somewhat more manageable!