Yesterday children all around the country celebrated Mikuláš. I already wrote about this tradition here but I also wanted to show you the most typical things children can get from the Angel. Besides chocolate figures, there are often peanuts, mandarins, chocolate money and chocolate calendars. You open one window of the calendar everyday till Christmas Eve. However, without proper discipline the calendar can disappear much sooner…
Mikuláš | St. Nicholas Day is celebrated in various forms by majority of European countries.
Saint Nicholas (Mikuláš in Czech) was a bishop from Lycia. During his lifetime he was very popular among the people, known for generosity to the needy and saviour of unjustly accused. Mikuláš is the one of the most respected Christians and corruption of his name actually inspired the creation of Santa Claus.
On the eve of 5th December, you will meet a strange trio - Mikuláš (Nicholas), Anděl (the Angel) and Čert (the Devil).
All three characters walk the streets, stopping children and asking them if they were good in the past year. Children are often terrified of the the Čert because bad kids would be put into his sack and taken to hell. After singing a song or reciting poem to the trio, they are rewarded with sweets handed out by the Angel.
Adults or teenagers who dress up to bring joy to the children are rewarded too - whether with the money or with shots of alcohol. December nights are very cold after all, which in some cases unfortunately leads to rather tipsy unearthly beings.
My Canadian friend nicely summarized this event as “it’s kind of like Halloween, only with adults dressing up”. While Czech and Slovak Mikuláš is pretty much the same, in Austria, Bavaria, Croatia and Hungary they have instead of Čert terrifying Krampus.
Čert occurs in many fairy tales and legends. On 5th December we can find him strolling the streets together with Angel and Mikuláš
origins: pre-Christian Slavic mythology, after arrival of Christianity equated with the devil
appearance: his main attributes are tail, hooves, horns and looking kind of burned
personality of Czech Čert: we can’t be sure if he’s really evil because he punishes mainly mean people while the kind he awards with money or magic items
place of occurrence: while hemakes frequent appearances on earth, trying to acquire souls of sinners, his true home is hell; Czech hell has simple hierarchic structure with Lucifer ruling over lower Čerts
Čert’s job: he offers specific services or benefits to humans in exchange for their soul; this is all signed on a note (with your own blood) and when the deadline expires, he comes back and carries you to hell; still Čert can be tricked which is a plot-twist of many fairy tales
special abilities: Čert can fly and thus move himself from place to place with an impressive speed, he also makes this sound (more scarier, deeper version)
I feel like explaining this a bit so… SOME NOTES:
There are many words to translate “friend” into Czech. The basic distinction, though - PŘÍTEL and KAMARÁD.
While kamarád would pass as friend “in general”, přítel usually describes a stronger bond. In addition, the word přítel is nowadays used for boyfriend as well.
Confused already? Oh well… Czech language usually uses suffixes to distinct masculine and feminine nouns. For example, “This is my friend” could go like this:
Tohle je můj kamarád. (a guy-friend).
Tohle je můj přítel. (a (good) guy-friend, a boyfriend)
Tohle je moje kamarádka. (a girl-friend)
Tohle je moje přítelkyně. (a (good) girl-friend, a girlfriend).
I would actually say that nowadays in spoken Czech (especially between young people) “přítel” or “přítelkyně” is almost always boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s pretty confusing because you can also say “jsme přátelé”, which uses the same word and yet the meaning is pretty clear “we are friends”. There is for example another word “milenka” that used to be a female lover but now a person who doesn’t know if you are married could think you are talking about your mistress.
other than kamarád/kamarádka we also informally say kámoš/kámoška
My dear not-so-anonymous fan from California, Pomona,
Olomouc in motion
Author: Jakub Hutyra
Music: Lindsey Stirling - Elements
Václav Nedomanský | one of the top Czech sports legends
You might think that the title of all-time leading goal scorer in hockey for the Czech national team would belong to a name like Jágr, Eliáš or perhaps Ivan Hlinka, but this honor actually belongs to Václav Nedomanský. He is best known for being the first player to defect to North America in 1974, but the prime of his career was spent behind the iron curtain tearing up the Czechoslovak Extraliga (369 goals in 419 games) and leading the impressive yet perennially #2-ranked Czech National Team to two Olympic podium finishes.
At the 1972 World Championships, at home in Prague, Nedomanský was the offensive catalyst in a thrilling gold medal victory that snapped the Soviet string of 9 straight championships, which was especially sweet considering the current Soviet occupation. Following his performance as Best Forward at the ‘74 World’s, he defected to Toronto and after three outstanding seasons in the WHA (the rival league of the NHL that had HOFers like Gretzky and Hull), Nedomanský capped his career off with a pair of 35-goal seasons for the Detroit Red Wings at the ripe old age of 36. For a player described as “Phil Esposito, if Phil had a 90 MPH wrist shot,” one can only wonder how much greater his impact could have been if the NHL was graced with his prime.
nakupování = shopping
peníze = money
peněženka = valet
být švorc = be out of money
být zazobaný = be well-heeled
výprodej = sale
sleva = discount
zboží = goods
dárek = present
zadarmo or f.e. dárek zdarma = free; free gift
Kolik to stojí? How much does it cost?
Stojí to 500 (pět-set) korun. It costs 500 Czech crowns.
Je to drahé. It’s expensive.
Je to levné. It’s cheap.
účtenka, paragon = bill. receipt
krám, šunt, šmejd = piece of junk; low-quality product
reklamace = complaint
vrácení peněz = refund
obchod (sometimes commonly krám) = shop/trade
obchodní centrum = shopping centre
supermarket = supermarket
samoobsluha = self-service shop (smaller than supermarket)
greengrocery = zelinářství
řeznictví = butchery
vinárna = wineshop, winebar
knihkupectví = bookstore
drogérie = drug store (only with cosmetics, cleaning supplies)
lékárna = pharmacy
trh, tržiště = market
značka = brand
oblečení = clothes
boty = shoes
nákupní taška = shopping bag
Vypadám v té sukni tlustá? Does this skirt make me fat?
Vypadáš nádherně. You look gorgeous.
Nic moc. Nothing special.
Hlavně už si něco vyber. Just pick something already.
Máte větší/menší velikost? Do you have ones of a bigger/smaller size?
Nějak mi to nesedí. It just doesn’t fit well.
otevřeno = open / zavřeno = closed
otevírací doba = business hours