Category Archives: decorating

Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

Easter 2015

Moravian villages  adhere to old Easter customs
Moravian villages adhere
to old Easter customs

Easter evokes memories of Czech Republic

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

In my memoir “Greenwich Meridian,” I write about Czech and Slovak traditions that I have witnessed while living in Czechoslovakia with a touch of nostalgia. Some of them disappeared along with the old regimes, but most have survived mainly in villages and small towns preserved by enthusiastic small groups of people. Festive costumes for the holidays and special events reflect these traditions, as well as  music, dance, food, and customs specific to each village and town.

We lived in Zlin, Moravia, which is the central part of former Czechoslovakia embedded in traditions. Both as a child and an adult, I lived and visited with my grandparents in Vizovice, a treasure trove of traditions.

cousin Bronislav Pink
Cousin Bronislav Pink ready for “schmigrust”

Easter celebrations in Czech and some other European countries are longer by one day, and that is Monday.
We have always indulged in lavish preparations for the long Easter weekend. That meant having enough meat, desserts, eggs, and beverages for three days. There were long lines just like before any major holiday. I spent a lot of time standing in lines and listening to what the old broads had to say.
“I am not going to tell him how much I spent,” a woman  wearing a scarf and a fluffy skirt shook her head defiantly.
The other one with an apron over her dress smelled of burnt dough.
I thought, she must have burnt her kolache, a traditional festive pastry with plum butter.
The broad leaned closer to the first one and whispered something into her ear. Then they both laughed, until their bellies and chests were heaving up and down. I learned a lot standing in lines. The longer the line, the more I learned.
So, the culmination of it all is Easter Monday known for its “schmigrust,” an old whipping custom.

Traditional Czech festive costumes.
Traditional Czech festive costumes.

On that day, early in the morning ,large groups of boys and young men head out into the streets with their braided knot-grass whips or oversized wooden spoons decorated with ribbons. The day before, they spent many hours skillfully braiding their whips out of willow twigs or scouring the house for the biggest wooden spoon.
The boys go door to door, reciting traditional Easter carols like “Hody, hody doprovody,” asking the lady of the house for painted eggs. Then, they whip all the present women in exchange for decorated eggs and ribbons. Single women, and girls tied ribbons on top of the whip. I always wondered about the whipping custom, long before I ever set my foot out into the world. One day, grandma Anna finally explained it to me.
“It is supposed to resemble the whipping of Christ before he died,” she said.
“But, grandma that’s evil,” I cried.
Grandma just shrugged, and turned away. Later in life, I knew better than to question a tradition.

Easter desserts
Easter desserts

Women of the house offered  shots of plum brandy, usually home-made or acquired through bartering to the “schmigrust” groups. Even family members took part in this ritual. Uncles and cousins visited for coffee, festive desserts such as kolache, shots and meaningful conversation.
On a good year, and especially when I was a teenager, we got anywhere around 100 passionate revelers. Sometimes, I ran out of ribbons. The boys and young men, competing against each other, took pride in the number of ribbons they got. The craft stores had to stock up with meters and meters of ribbons, plain or embroidered. The hens, of course, felt obligated to produce more eggs.

For more on Easter desserts go to CJ Aunt Jarmilka’s Desserts on http://jkarmaskova.wordpress.com

 

Copyright © 2015 story and photos by Emma Palova, costume photo by “I love Czech Republic” photo group

News from artist Kathleen Mooney

Kathleen Mooney, abstract artist
Kathleen Mooney, abstract artist

Note:  Kathleen Mooney is a Lowell-based abstract artist and a member of the International Society of Experimental artists. Her work is striking and inspiring both in subject and format. She has had many solo exhibits in West Michigan and beyond. Mooney also teaches art classes. Check out her personal story in the archives and on page About local entrepreneurs and artists.

Her recent work has been inspired by Gee’s Bend quilting tradition. I featured her abstract painting in most of the IW Inspiring Women series for its high quality and technique.

artist Kathleen Mooney
Kathleen Mooney inspires with her art.

 

 

March 2015 – Art News from Kathleen Mooney

The Rugs are IN, NEW gallery in Charleston SC, Reception and Art exhibit with my Rugs at Design Quest, NEW Clothing and Home decor designs…

Rugs by Kathleen Mooney
Rugs by Kathleen Mooney

 

2015 by Kathleen Mooney: “Amergin” Runner, 6 of the 25 rugs by Kathleen Mooney produced by Foreign Accents Rugs, and “Inspiration” Rug by Kathleen Mooney

Kathleen Mooney’s rugs are now IN at Design Quest / D2 in Grand Rapids! Here is the contact info www.designquest.bz  800-944-3232 at 4181 28th Street SE Grand Rapids MI 49512sales@designquest.bz

RUGS, ART EXHIBIT AND RECEPTION — Design Quest is hosting an exhibit of Kathleen Mooney’s art from May 22, 2015 through July 12, 2015 in their Design Gallery with a Reception on May 31, 2015 from 2-4pm.  We hope to have Molly Anderson from Foreign Accents Rugs there so we can tell you about how all this rug magic got started!

Kathleen Mooney's abstracts.
Kathleen Mooney’s abstracts.

Meanwhile, if you want to visit the rugs with me – just let me know and I will be happy to show them to you!

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Kathleen Mooney has been accepted to appear as a Guest Artist at a top gallery in Charleston SC – Lowcountry Artists.

19 of her multilayered acrylic on canvas paintings are beautifully displayed from March 1, 2015 through August 31, 2015 at this prestigious East Bay gallery.  www.lowcountryartists.com

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Art of Where – just in case you have ever thought “Kathleen’s ART would be great to wear” – after yet another heart-felt request – I dedicated myself (once again) to finding a sweatshop free, eco conscious, sensitive company to work with for “art to wear”. Yes! Success! I found a wonderful company in Canada to produce my art in original hand-made creations… leggings, scarves,
pillow covers, baby leggings, skirts, capris and more.

Art gallery.
Art gallery.

All ready for you to explore on www.artofwhere.com/shop/artist/kathleen-mooney

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Kathleen Mooney’s 30 x 30″ acrylic on canvas painting “Ignition” has been accepted in the ISEA Member’s Online Exhibit 2015.  www.iseaartexhibit.org

Other locations to see my art –

44 of Kathleen Mooney’s paintings are featured at Flat River Cottage at 317 East Main Street, Lowell MI 49331 www.flatrivercottage.com

A FINE SELECTION of Kathleen Mooney’s paintings is available at Lansing Art Gallery at 119 North Washington Square, Lansing, MI 48933 www.lansingartgallery.org

Spring 2015 – Kathleen Mooney’s Rugs are featured at D2 / Design Quest in Grand Rapids at 4181 28th Street SE Grand Rapids MI 49512 www.designquest.biz and national / international locations for her “Legends” series are listed on the Foreign Accents Rugs websitewww.foreignaccentsrugs.com

A selection of “small, tiny, mini” paintings by Kathleen Mooney and bronze jewelry by Marilyn Flaherty (Kathleen’s aunt) are on exhibit at Toadworks at 102 Main Street in Lowell.

The Houzz website is “The Largest” online source of decorating, design and remodeling inspiring ideas, services and products for the home.  Gradually adding more of my art each week. www.houzz.com – search on “Kathleen Mooney Artist” in Shop.

Kathleen Mooney's rugs and abstracts.
Kathleen Mooney’s rugs and abstracts.

High Point Market Spring 2015 – Foreign Accents Rugs with Kathleen Mooney’s “Legends” Collection of Rugs and even more new designs in even more collections.  High Point Market is open to “The Trade” two times each year.  It is HUGE. www.highpointmarket.org

As usual – If you would like an appointment to view my art or have me bring some pieces to your home or business – just contact me via the website www.kathleenmooney.com or email!  It would be great to see you!

Spring is in the air and we are boiling the first sap from the maple trees starting tonight!  Kathleen