A Slightly Unconventional Thanksgiving (Trošku nekonvenční Den díkuvzdání)

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Today is Thanksgiving, a harvest festival celebrated in the United States and Canada. On this day people give thanks for the harvest. Even though Thanksgiving is not celebrate in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, many Czechs and Slovaks express their gratitude while living in the USA and Canada or other democratic countries. For them, living in a free country brings with it more appreciation than just during this holiday. Many of them left the country, while it was still controlled by the Communist party and found their freedom far away from their homes, while risking their lives during their escapes. The article named “Giving Thanks for Freedom, Remembering the Czech Revolution” posted on the San Diego News Network by Marketa Hancova, the dean of education at Platt College, San Diego School of Art and Design, speaks just about that and more. The English version can be found HERE and its translation is posted below. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving! Continue reading

The Velvet Revolution and how the Czech public perceives it today (Sametová revoluce a jak to dnes vidí česká veřejnost)

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Ilustrace pro CzechFolks.com © František FrK KratochvílReaders of CzechFolks.com PLUS have been following a series on what foreign radios broadcasted in last weeks of the totalitarian regime and the early days of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. As the recent surveys have shown, it was the media and especially foreign radio broadcasts that had a major impact on sharing information with the Czech and Slovak population. This was confirmed by 86% of respondents in the research, which was done early in the autumn of this year by the staff from the Center for Public Opinion Research (part of the Institute of Sociology of the Cs. Academy of Sciences). Miroslav Sigl was invited to the final data presentation from the investigation of a large sample of 1046 respondents from the age of 15 and older. Continue reading

September 1st – The Slovakian Constitution Day Celebrated (1.září – Den ústavy SR)

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Today Slovakia commemorated another anniversary of the adoption of its Constitution. This binding document was adopted by the Slovak parliament on September 1st, 1992 to establish the independent Slovak Republic. The Czechoslovak Federation was subsequently disbanded on January 1st, 1993. This important day in the Slovak calendar was celebrated in many ways. You could see folklore dances, listen to traditional songs, tour the National Council of the Slovak Republic (the parliament) or the Bratislava castle, or enjoy the evening concert featuring the bands Desmond and Kalinka. The day was concluded by the ceremonial lighting of the Bratislava Castle. Continue reading

Curiosities: Luxurious Furniture Made of Czech Pianos (Kuriozity: Luxusní nábytek z českých pian)

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Do not worry; this article is not about destroying delicate instruments to make high class furniture. It explains the recent change in a company’s goal to overcome the current economic crisis. Petrof, a major piano factory in Hradec Kralove switched a portion of its piano production to furniture design and manufacturing. The company has a long history in piano making. It not only survived two world wars, but also 40 years of the communist regime. Today it is dealing with another challenge and it is once again using creative new business models to overcome it. Continue reading

A Magazine Connecting Czechs around the World (Časopis, který spojuje Čechy ve světě)

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Exactly 20 years ago, Eva Střížovská came up with a great idea that led her to the foundation of a magazine called Český dialog (Czech Dialogue). During that time Czechoslovakia became free of communism right after the Velvet Revolution. The country was going through major changes and its citizens were finally free to travel to almost any country in the world. As Czechs were able to travel abroad, the Czech emigrants had a chance to travel back to their home country. Here the magazine served its great purpose to help people to overcome barriers and differences between the Czechs at home and their countrymen that were artificially created by the Communists. Over the years, the magazine became very popular and it not only helped to overcome these differences, but it also led to foundation of the International Czech Club connecting Czechs around the world through cultural events, discussions, meetings and much more.

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Havel’s Play in Slovakia After 40 Years (Havlova Hra na Slovensku po 40ti Letech)

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On Saturday, November 22nd, Vaclav Havel was written into the history of Slovakia. That day the Slovak National Theater presented his new play Odchazeni (Leaving). Havel’s last plays were introduced in Slovakia more than 40 years ago. The theater also could have been the first place in the world to introduce this play, but ultimately it was premiered in Prague first. Havel’s play was also unique in a way since the author started writing it before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, but completing it just last year (2007). Odchazeni was not only interesting for its creative development throughout Havel’s life, its own story with a political focus, but also the circumstances under which it was presented to the public.

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How Did You Celebrate the Velvet Revolution Anniversary? Jak Jste Oslavili Vyroci Sametove Revoluce?

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Here we have the first feedback from the celebration of the 19th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in California. Czechs and Slovaks met in San Diego on the beach to a pleasant evening full of music (including guitars and a banjo), food, drinks and interesting conversations. Comfortable weather in California did not call for warm clothing and a large bonfire only added to a pleasant environment. People roasted almost everything: bread, bagels, bacon, American and Polish sausages and more. There was more than enough wood, thus, even children had their own fire for their entertainment.

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19 Years since the Fall of Communism (19 Let od Padu Komunismu)

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Today we celebrate 19 years since the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia. Many times we have mentioned the name “Sametova revoluce – Velvet Revolution.” In Slovakia it is known as the Nezna revoluce – Soft revolution” and the name is probably a better explanation of this revolution, which was peaceful, thus, it was not necessary to use armed forces. Maybe you wonder how the citizens of the Czech Republic and Slovakia celebrated this day, the 17th of November. Many citizens celebrated this day with pleasure and enjoyment, but unfortunately, celebrations in both countries did not go without protests as well.

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Plastic People Helped Bring Freedom to Czechoslovakians (PP Pomohli Prinest Cechoslovakum Svobodu)

Our October calendar lists all activities for Czechs and Slovaks around the world. One of them is a concert of a Czech band called Plastic People of the Universe (PPU). We have to admit, at the time we were preparing our calendar of events, we did not know the band or its contribution to the freedom of all Czech and Slovak citizens.

 

A couple of days ago we decided to find articles about the band and to watch their video clips. What we found was great music and a remarkable life story of their pride and resistance to the Czechoslovakian Communist party.

 

The band was formed by bassist Milan Hlavsa right after the Soviet invasion on August 21st, 1968 in attempts to stop the Prague Spring, a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia. The name was taken from Frank Zappa’s song entitled Plastic People. The same year Russians initiated a “normalization” program to reestablish moral and social behavior to make it more appropriate for a Communist country.

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Another Czech Movie Selected for Oscar Nomination (Dalsi Cesky Film Vybran na Nominaci na Oscara)

During the communist regime, many great Czechoslovak movies were isolated from the rest of the world or were destroyed. Today, Czech filmmakers have freedom to create their work of art without being afraid of censorship. Czech movies are viewed around the world receiving admirations and prizes. The new movie, called The Karamazovs, was selected by the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) for the best non-English speaking film.

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