Category Archives: Easter

Day 21: Easter Monday in the COVID-19 quarantine

Czech and Slovak Easter Monday traditions

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Celebrate Easter responsibly with a six foot long whip.

Those were the guidelines for Easter Monday from the Czech officials. Social distancing restrictions have also impacted some beloved Easter customs in Czech Republic known as the whipping of the women called “schmigrust” on Easter Monday.”

“How?” you asked.

“The whips just got longer to satisfy the six-foot social distancing requirement.“

On the night before Easter Monday, the men braided the whips from willow branches. The whip consists of eight, twelve or even 24 withies (willow rods.) They headed out early on Monday morning either individually or as a team. Even before social distancing, the leader of the team carried the biggest whip with the most ribbons. The team members had their personal whips and rattles. The noisy procession went from house to house seeking out the loveliest females, who had the prettiest ribbons. This custom is known as “pomlazka.”

Easter Monday whipping before the COVID-19 quarantine.

According to some accounts, (including my own) the purpose of whipping is for males to exhibit their attraction to females; unvisited females can even feel offended. I wrote about this Easter Monday whipping tradition in my upcoming book the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” Watch for excerpts coming up during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The lashing would take place at the doorstep to the famous Easter rhyme:

“Hody, hody, doprovody, give me a colored egg, if you don’t have a colored egg, give me at least a white one, the hen will lay another one.”

Depending on the household, the lady of the house, tied a ribbon to the whip, handed out eggs and poured shots of the famous plum brandy known as sliwowitz.

Festive Easter deviled eggs-casino style

The whipping custom dates back to the pagan times. It was meant to chase away bad spirits, sickness and bring health and youth to everyone for the rest of the year. In our Moravian region, we were told that it symbolized the whipping of Christ.

If the women of the household were popular and the Easter team arrived late, there would be no ribbons or shots left for them.

On the other hand, you could see drunken teams in the afternoon out on the streets.

We have always adhered to this “schmigrust” custom wherever we lived in the world, except for this year due to the Coronavirus quarantine. We still have the personal braided whips from Czech and the giant rattle.

As a renaissance tradition, I made deviled eggs or eggs casino style from the dyed Easter eggs.

You just scoop out the yolks into a bowl, mix it with butter and mustard, you can add chopped up ham.

Below is a video of the Czech prime minister Andrej Babis lashing his wife.

Thank you health care workers.

Stay tuned for day by day coverag of the COVID-19 quarantine.

Tomorrow: Hastings woman infected with Coronavirus struggles to get better.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 20: Easter SUNDAY in the COVID-19 quarantine

Happy Easter

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, it casts the shadow of our burdens behind us.” – Samuel Smiles

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- Every Sunday is a little Easter and this Easter Sunday wishes kept pouring in from far and near.

We spent Easter alone with Ludek, but not completely. For the fourth Sunday in a row, we watched the televised mass from the empty Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Grand Rapids. The beautiful mass celebrating the risen Christ lost none of its pomp. The altar was decorated with bold white Easter lilies, mums and orchids. And Alleluia echoed through the empty cathedral.

Easter Sunday rosary walk at the Franciscans

While the sun was still out, I went for my second walk of the season to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist around noon. During the entire 1.8 mile walk on gravel Downes Road, I saw one Amazon Prime van only, but no human beings. However, the birds could not be discouraged or fined for chirping their Easter Sunday songs.

At the St. Mary’s Plaza, I sat on the concrete bench to make note of my observations in my blue walking diary with this title, “Write your Story.”

Then, the phone got the best of me as the Easter wishes kept coming in. Walking by the center, I still noticed the yellow forsythias .

“Happy Easter,” our son Jake wished me. “I made the whips for the Easter Monday whipping. We couldn’t find any willows.”

“Did you color eggs for Easter?” I asked.

Oh, yes, the coloring of Easter eggs is just as big of a deal as braiding of the whips from the willow branches.

“What are you cooking?” I asked.

On a normal Easter Sunday, we would have a leg of lamb, red sauerkraut and dumplings and mom’s famous cake roll. We would fill the dining room by the sunroom with laughter and Easter joy.

“I am grilling ribs tonight,” Jake said.

And yes, mom announced their Easter meal on FaceTime in Big Rapids. My brother Vas was present.

“We had schnitzel from chicken tenderloin,” she said. “I grabbed that at Aldi’s.”

Vas suggested that Ludek should be working in our gardens during the quarantine.

Somewhere in between the above mentioned calls, daughter Doc Em called from Morzine in France.

“Mom, I am in the mountains, but the kids couldn’t come with me because of the lockdown,” she said. “I am fine because I am a doctor, we can go anywhere.”

Doc Em said she’s getting tired of the uncertainty.

“France could be on a lockdown until the end of May and the European Union could seal off the borders until September,” she said.

Speaking about having a different Easter, friend Sheryl from Iowa asked me about our Governor.

“What is going on with your governor? Can’t buy seeds or flags and can’t go to neighbor’s house?” Sheryl asked.

“We can do takeouts, auto service, buy food and medication, but that’s about it,” I responded.

Thank you medical workers, truckers and grocery workers for all your hard work.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the Coronavirus shutdown in Michigan including a special report about Easter Monday traditions in Czech & Slovak republics with excerpts.

Copyright (c) 2020. EMMA Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 19: Easter Vigil in the COVID-19 quarantine

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Easter alone, Whites Bridge rediscovered

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI -Due to the Coronavirus quarantine, we will not have our Easter family gathering with my parents Ella & Vaclav, and our son Jake. I spent the sunny day in my well-lit kitchen working on Easter preparations, even though it will be just Ludek and I.

Whites Bridge replica

I colored eggs in five different dyes with an attempt to draw a bunny on a few of them. The bunny showed up only on the green egg. I marinated lamb chops in herbes de Provence, garlic and red Cabernet from a box. And finally I made my famous red beet elixir to strengthen our immunity and to boost the spirit.

Ludek had no bread, so we drove to the Otisco Bakery to get a loaf of sourdough. In Slavic countries, there is a blessing of the traditional Easter foods , prepared in baskets onEaster Vigil held on Saturday night.

Fresh baked sourdough from the Otisco Bakery

Since we were in Otisco Township, home to the famous Whites Bridge, we took the gravel road to check it out. It was well worth the bumpy drive. There it was standing in its new beauty – the perfect replica of the 1869 Whites Bridge across the Flat River.

An arsonist, who has never been caught, burnt it down on July 7, 2013.

Late in the afternoon, I watched fishermen fishing from kayaks on Murray Lake. I feel blessed living in the country and having somewhere to go without traveling.

I pray for reprieve for people living in big cities during the COVID-19 shutdown. May there be relief for all of us soon.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the shutdown.

Copyright (c) 2020. EMMA Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

DAY 16: Celebrating in the Covid-19 quarantine

“Life is patchwork-here and there, scraps of pleasure and despair. Joined together, hit or miss.”

-Anne Bronaugh

Birthdays at home

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Even in these unprecendented times, life goes on; babies are born, birthdays arrive, surgeries need to be done, and the Czech calendar shows it’s my name day today.

This morning, I wished a happy birthday and name day to our daughter Doc Emma, who works on the frontlines in France. Usually, she is surrounded by friends, not this time. The grandkids wished me a happy name day.

My nephew George welcomed baby Victoria into the world on April 1. Congratulations.

For my name day, I get a spring bouquet, but not this year. No one is going out to shop for flowers. That’s okay too, because I delight in my beautiful gardens year round. Instead of flowers, I got a trail mix. I will use it on my next trail walk.

Fellow Michigan author Darla Jean Davis of Holland posted this morning on Facebook that neighbors who could not open their usual farm stand dropped off a huge bouquet of daffodils. How thoughtful of them, they made my name day happier.

Giant daffodil bouquet given to fellow Michigan author Darla Jean Davis. The neighbors couldn’t open their usual farm stand.

A walk on the old rail bed converted into a trail under the finicky April sun refreshed my spirits. The trail is 10 feet wide, so we could still social distance of six feet with fellow trail lovers.

We also got some manure from the Hidden Creek Stables on Belding Road for our garden and my roses.

In the meantime, the news continues to stream in at fast pace. Gov. Whitmer is expected to announce the extension of the stay-at-home executive order in Michigan by the end of this week.

And Easter is upon us starting with Holy Thursday, followed by Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. All these services will be celebrated without an audience for the first time in history.

There has been a lot of firsts in March and April.

I will color our Easter eggs in onion skins, since we had no time to buy dyes, let alone to buy a leg of lamb.

“You’re not going to drop of some lamb at my doorstep?” mom Ella asked.

“No, I won’t. We will have to do without lamb,” I said.

More scary news: a friend couldn’t get into the hospital for a critical surgery.

Local dairy farmers report they will have to dump milk because their main customers are closed.

Silver lining: the nature is awakening regardless the COVID-19 horrors around the globe.

And better times are sure to come, said Queen Elizabeth in a rare special address.

Stay tuned for day by day COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan coverage.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Easter Monday in Czech & Slovak republics

Czech Easter extends to Easter Monday

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

The major difference between Czech and American Easter, is that Czech Republic has an Easter Monday celebration.

On Easter Monday, the custom in the villages calls for “whipping” of the girls and women to commemorate Christ’s whipping before he was crucified. Boys and men braid the whips from willow branches.

The teams head out early in the morning on Easter Monday. The ladies of the house have readied the ribbons to tie to the whips, shots of plum brandy and colored eggs. The leader of the team carries the longest whip with the most ribbons.

The Monday festivities are known as “pomlazka.”

Some boys carry wooden “rattles” that make deafening noises ushering in the jolly “whipping team.” The rattles were used instead of church bells. Legend has it that the church bells left for Rome.

Slovak variation on Monday Easter feature pouring water or cologne on girls and women.

Women color the eggs quite often in onion skins for natural brown look. Depending on the region, the Easter feast features “kolache,” a festive traditional pastry of modest origins. Kolache are common also in Czech communities across the USA; Cedar Rapids, Bannister, West Texas and countless others.

The Easter meal, again depending on the region, will be most likely “rizek” which is a breaded pork, veal or rabbit fried steak with mashed potatoes accompanied by home-made preserved fruits.

Roasted goose or duck can be an alternative.

In Moravia, the host will offer a shot of plum brandy to greet you at the doorstep. The plum brandies are a pride of each household, and as such they differ based on the plums. Plum brandies are made in local distilleries with equal pride in their craft.

Families get together from far and near to duscuss the latest news; who died, who got married or divorced and to gossip about neighbors and friends.

When we transferred Czech customs to North America in the 1990s, we kept the Easter “whipping”, the plum shots, while adding the American egg hunt and having a leg of lamb with herbs for Easter dinner.

We do miss the “kolache” pastry, since I do not know how to make kolache.

Stay tuned for posts about Czech traditions in America including the elusive “kolache.”

Pictured above: Easter lamb pound cake, colored eggs called “kraslice”, braided whips and a wooden rattle.

The feature photo: Gentle whipping on Easter at the Pala household somewhere in Midwest America. Pictured are: Ludek Pala, Jakub Pala & Maranda Palova.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Mystery of Easter Triduum

The Triduum inspires with its mysticism

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Parnell, MI- The Easter Triduum started on Holy Thursday evening with the Lord’s Last Supper, that has inspired countless generations of artists beginning with DaVinci’s renaissance painting in 1498.

The catholic priests around the world washed the feet of their “servants” or parishioners to show humbleness. Fr. Mark Peacock of St. Pat’s Church in Parnell encouraged to share the act of humbleness by washing other’s feet at home.

The entire three days known as “Triduum” are filled with symbolism and mysticism as the feast of the Lord’s Passover begins on Thursday and ends on Saturday night.

Today, on Good Friday, the lectors will read the “Passion” of the Lord Jesus Christ according to one of the four gospel writers. This served as a basic premise for Mel Gibson’s 2004 controversial movie “The Passion of the Christ.”

In the Passion, Jesus was Betrayed by Judas.

The Triduum ends on Holy Saturday night with the great vigil of Easter at 8 pm.

Easter Sunday ensues with the resurrection of Christ Jesus, the Lord.

The symbolism of the Catholic Church also inspired another controversial work; American author Dan Brown’s 2003 novel “The Da Vinci Code.”

I often use the elements of catholic mysticism and symbolism in my fiction as in the short story “White Nights “ and the one I am currently working on:

”The Writer, the Nun, and the Gardener.”

These stories are in my new book of short stories that I am working on “Shifting Sands II.”

Palm Sunday marked the start of the Holy Week on March 25. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Monday led with the feature photo of the Palm Procession in Jerusalem.

It was the only time I bought a print copy of WSJ for $4. I almost passed out at the counter of the Honey Creek shop in Cannonsburg when the clerk named the price.

But, the image of the Franciscan friars and Roman Catholic clergy carrying the palm fronds at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City spoke out loud. I almost dropped the paper staring into the cupola centering the color image on top of the fold of the newspaper. The WSJ used to be black and white only without any photos.

Holding the paper in my hands, I realized this was also history before print goes out completely.

Watch for excerpts that show the power of symbolism.

About feature photo: A procession after the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper on Thursday evening walks to the Chapel of Repose at St. Pat’s in Parnell.

Next post: Czech and Slovak Easter traditions.

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Taurus on edge before Easter

As my horoscope states, I am quite on the edge today.

I am trying to sort through tons of information; everything from Bell’s Oberon summer release, Facebook mess, First & Second amendment demonstrations, “Stormy” interview with Anderson Cooper, stormy weather in Michigan, Kim’s message about China, and Easter Triduum preparations.

Amidst all of that, I am getting ready for the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing from April 12 through April 14 in Grand Rapids.

I am waffling back and forth between two manuscripts to submit to the Festival. Only one is allowed via the Submittable app. It’s a good thing that I have manuscripts to choose from for publication.

Most of the workshops and festival circles have filled up already. The roster of speakers is so huge that I just don’t know who to pick.

“It can be an overwhelming conference,” wrote my fellow writer and friend Tamela. “I heard Anne Lamont a few years ago…she was awesome.”

The iPad calendar is showing me that I have a webinar in one minute, and a meeting at noon.

I already missed the “blessing of the oils” @St.Andrews Cathedral yesterday.

My facebook friend warned me that he is shutting down his account, because he doesn’t believe FB provides a net-positive contribution to the world.

“We all have a finite amount of time to invest,” he wrote. “The return on investment of my time on Fb, other than the connection with my immediate family, is not worth it.”

Oh, yes; Facebook and fear. I have yet to write about that. I promised that to my fellow writer Sheryl.

“What’s up with that fear?” she asked.

We’re picking up my brother Vas on Good Friday in Paris, MI. That is, if he decides to come and spend the Easter with us.

My parents Ella & Vaclav Konecny are staying in Venice, Fl for Easter.

Stay tuned for full post about Czech & Slovak Easter traditions right here on EW Emma’s Writings.

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, the great Russian playwright and short-story writer, said that you must first incubate your story idea for at least two days, so it comes out right.

I must Incubate all this.

 

http://www.tarot.com/daily-horoscope/taurus

 

 

Copyright (c) 2018. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Good Friday

The Good Friday commemoration of the Christ’s passion took place at  3 p.m. today at Saint Pat’s Church in Parnell. One billion catholics around the world sat in silence to observe Christ’s death.

“We wait in silence,” said Father Mark Peacock.

During this liturgy, the narrator, the priest and the crowd read the scriptures according to John in a powerful ceremony.

I find the Passion script, that was also read on Palm Sunday, fascinating. I am not surprised it has been worked into a movie.

Photos are coming.

In conclusion, the faithful venerated the Cross. Saturday is the vigil of Easter that takes place in the chapel.

The Triduum invites all to enter without reserve into the mystery and death unto resurrection in Christ Jesus.

Easter Sunday is the culmination of all these liturgies.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Easter Triduum

The Paschal Triduum  started tonight with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and it runs through Easter Sunday on April 16.

This week is also known as the Holy Week in the catholic calendar.

The mass at Saint Pat’s included a candle vigil and procession to chapel for repose with washing of the feet. The mass with procession lasted just under two hours.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. Watch for the readings of the Christ’s passion. The Christ’s passion written by several writers has served over the centuries as an inspiration for many literary works due to its powerful message.

Mel Gibson’s 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ” stirred some controversy, unlike the 1973 “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Follow me for more Easter coverage through Easter Sunday including Easter traditions in Czech Republic.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Writer’s love picks for February

February drives creative work to fruition

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

There is something about the month of February, you can call it atmospheric . I was thinking that even before I heard that at a therapeutic meeting earlier this week.

Maybe it’s the overall ambience of the month in between the deep freeze of January and the much coveted  arrival of spring in March. If I were to pin the season to the catholic calendar, it is usually the purple time of Lent, except for this year since Lent arrives late with Ash Wednesday falling on March 1.

“Everything is going to be late this year,” my husband Ludek, a chronic complainer, said. “We’re going to have a late Easter.”

No kidding, the Easter Sunday falls on April 16 this year. But, the good news is, the trees here Up North in Michigan will have leaves, and maybe even early blossoms and spring flowers.

We had rain on Tuesday, grayish nothing on Wednesday, a deep freeze on Thursday along with a creepy full moon, and now we are recovering from 20 plus minus degree temperature swings as the work week finally wraps up.

My body” loves” these roller coaster temperatures, and my mind and mood swing accordingly with them.

With the sunshine on Monday, I was at a reasonable high as I met with friends at the “Gathering Place” to discuss progress in our common therapy.

“You know, this really works, let’s do it next Monday again,” T. G. as always was very encouraging.

“I have a lot more stories to tell,” said our new buddy Wendy.

And the mid-week meeting somewhere in the woods next to the old stage-coach road was also a success, all things considered.

I do feel grateful for this overall February gap in between the novelty of the new year 2017 and the onset of spring. This February gap finally allowed me to fill the empty spaces on my huge 17-months desktop calendar with my creative work.

Along with Ludek, we made an executive decision that I will self-publish my collection of short stories “Glass Flowers” Copyright (c)2017 Emma Palova. On Thursday, I started pulling the collection of 20-some short stories together after literally years of searching the publishing “maze.”

That search included everything from participating in Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contests, submitting my short stories to literary magazines, of which, many no longer exist, submitting manuscripts to Writer’s Conferences and of course looking for an agent.

This all-inclusive escapade involved interviews with sales people from several publishing houses that have gone the self-publishing route as well.

“You know Amazon is moving quite fast on this,” said the sales person from Author’s Publish. “We’re keeping an eye on them.”

“Thank you Mr. E. for the tip,” I concluded a series of several hour-long phone interviews after my ear almost fell off. I decided to join the self-publishing mainstream.

Stay tuned for more of my “Publishing Escapades.” Have a great weekend, and a great February. Don’t forget it’s the month of the heart and love. Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Also some neat events this weekend include:

“Champagne and chocolates” at the Flat River Gallery in downtown Lowell this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more info go to http://www.flatrivergalleryandframing.com

Screening of the “Interlude” at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts  in Grand Rapids.

http://www.uica.org

Love always,

Emma

This post is also in response to the Daily Post prompt @Ambience

Ambience

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.