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Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

Easter evokes memories

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI-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. The traditions are reflected in festive costumes for the holidays and special events, in 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
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice

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 females 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.
The elders in the group were offered shots of plum brandy, usually home made or acquired through bartering. Even family members took part in this ritual. Uncles and cousins were invited inside 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.

Happy Easter 2016 to all.

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Blogging success for Fallasburg

Fallasburg Today up and running

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- The “Fallasburg Today” blog with the Lovecraft theme by Andre Nores is up and running with three initial posts, a Facebook page plug-in and a twitter page @fallasburg.

The Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS) is celebrating 50 years of historic preservation of the 1830s village founded by John Fallass.

I consider it a sign of times that the quaint pioneer village nestled in the northeast corner of Kent County is now marketed on WordPress and on social media.

New interpretive markers at the Fallasburg village.
New interpretive markers at the Fallasburg village.

In an effort to bring awareness to the village, the FHS president Ken Tamke and the board asked me for some technology help last week.

I share their passion and love for history and I live three miles away from the Fallasburg Park. And I love nature at its best.

I embraced the project with fervor because of the dates of the upcoming First Annual Village Bazaar set for Sept. 19 and Sept. 20.

We had a good start: a Facebook page with 245 likes, a website www.fallasburg.org and the excitement of all.

I did the twitter first and then the blog and connected all that. My unifying theme has been “bringing the village alive” so the name “Fallasburg Today.”

Today, there is a live discussion on Facebook and twitter is starting up. People and other organizations like Whites Bridge Historical Society are interested in what is happening at the Fallasburg village.

They are sharing the posts on Facebook and tweeting.

I am a deep believer in progress otherwise we would still be walking and living in caves.

Check us out on www.fallasburg.org, on twitter @fallasburg and on http://fallasburg.wordpress.com

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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

Social media blitz

Get connected, be social

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- I decided to contribute to the Blogging 201 discussion Day 6 on social media. I am sharing my experience with the much coveted social media.

There are three or more social media distinctions on the WordPress platform.

Number one: sharing buttons or white boxes either in your settings, you drag which services you want. Or on your dashboard in the Publish section on the right, you see Publicize and you click on edit. Add the ones you want. Then of course you want the public to use the sharing buttons as well.

Number two: The much coveted facebook like widget that can go into almost any sidebar. However, the facebook like widget works only with facebook pages, not with personal fb.

So, you first create a facebook page, if you don’t have one. Then copy its URL into the facebook page like widget. Make sure you save. It takes a few minutes. Then, your post on facebook will show in the fb widget on your blog, along with heads of the people who like your page.

The same goes for Instagram except that your photos will show.

Number three: Social media icons. Best placement on top in the upper right hand corner or in the footer. You can find them on the Internet, copy their code and paste into your text widget or you can also find them in the support section of WordPress titled Social Tools. Again copy and paste into the widget text box, and save.

Don’t forget to connect them to your social profiles like Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn and/or Google +.

That means replace the text in the brackets with your let’s say Twitter URL.

However, all this is pointless unless you’re working both your blog and your facebook page. That means regular posts with photographs, logos, polls, events and such.

Happy connecting.

Feel free to e-mail me with questions.

Emma

Copyright (c) Emma Blogs LLC

Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

Easter evokes memories

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. The traditions are reflected in festive costumes for the holidays and special events, in 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
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice
Czech & Slovak Easter kraslice

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 females 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.
The elders in the group were offered shots of plum brandy, usually home made or acquired through bartering. Even family members took part in this ritual. Uncles and cousins were invited inside 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.

Copyright © 2015 story and photos by Emma Palova

Desert ephiphany

Going back to a distant childhood memory

As I approach my one year anniversary with Word Press on Jan. 15th I have to share this inspirational message or a writing prompt that goes so well with my memoir “Greenwich Meridian.”

My Rumanian friend and colleague on Word Press poet Valeriu Dg Barbu liked this timeline photo on my facebook in the same fashion I liked his childhood photo and poem Thief. Now, I understand why.

I was in this high plateau desert with Saguaro forest near Tucson AZ in 1972 with my parents and then in 2011 with my daughter Emma only to find out that nothing has changed.

“Do you remember this?”Emma asked.

Emma Palova 2011 in Saguaro National Park
Emma Palova 2011 in Saguaro National Park

And there were the same cacti as when I was in my beloved Saguaro desert  as a child since they live up to 100 to 200 years. There was even the same old visitor’s building even though it was closed and a new center had opened nearby.

It was a very humbling experience and I had to ask myself a question.

“Have  I changed?”

Sure, physically I have. I am older and I don’t have the romantic long hair so admired by both men and women.

I still get the same old question whenever I come back to Czech Republic for a visit.

“Why did you cut your hair?” neighbor Milena and a friend both asked me at first sight.

But, I am still the same ambitious and hard- driving creature never afraid to tackle new things, look to the sky and reach for the stars. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in the USA. I would probably still be whining back in Czech, swearing at the regime and complaining about my vice-president job for an engineering firm located at Zarami, Zlin.

I am very happy here in the US  as a successful author, journalist & photographer. I am thankful to my entrepreneurial surroundings and friends including Word Press, facebook & Google+

Saguaro forest immortalized by Vaclav Konecny
Saguaro forest immortalized by Vaclav Konecny

 

Also inspired by the Sonoran desert, my dad former Ferris State University professor Vaclav Konecny immortalized the majestic saguaro in his oil on black velvet painting “Saguaro cacti at night” in the 70s. He did it again as a present for me in the 1990s with the same impeccable quality of a mathematician.

So styles and personalities basically don’t change.

I think everyone should ask themselves that same question: Have I changed since a certain humbling moment in my life?

Watch for my Silver Sunday post coming soon.

Copyright © 2013 story and photo by Emma Palova