Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Jak Vejce Vejci, or What About that Pomlaska?

All those rabbit posts leading up to Easter, and what about the holiday itself? Well, your Prague correspondent got a little carried away with holiday excitement and failed to post anything remotely informative about Czech Easter.
Er, yes, there were Easter markets all around Prague, and I meant to photograph them. For the most part they were pretty much the same as the Christmas markets, but some of the goods were seasonal, especially the decorated eggs and the beribboned willow items with which males are supposed to thrash females on Easter Monday. A few photos of these might have been nice. Jesse did bring Megan a willow pomlaska for her birthday, and he tapped both of us lightly with it (this is supposed to ensure vigor, vitality, and of course fertility, although perhaps we weren’t beaten hard enough to prompt any of that), but I didn’t photograph it. Nor do there seem to be any suitable photos of the items online to borrow.
(But I did find this Easter skit about pomlasky while strolling the Kampa.)

Actually, Jesse and I spent Easter Sunday hanging out with Julia (Kolo Kolo Mlynsky) and her family. This was quite enjoyable even though we didn’t get around to coloring eggs or anything like that. Caroline, who is at that learning-to-talk stage, enjoyed presenting me with bits of cheese that she was not interested in eating herself, and I ate them for her pleasure. We also (well, not Caroline) entertained ourselves with the Czech etymological dictionary. You can’t have fun like that everywhere, after all. Jesse and I don’t even have etymological dictionaries yet, although Jesse had been looking for one that would suit his exacting standards. I think this dictionary will satisfy, especially if paired with the Indo-European Roots book they showed us.
Easter Monday is quite the holiday here. I know that Megan had to return to Kutná Hora specifically so that her students could come to her house and whip her. But in Prague, not much besides restaurants is open, which prompted a breakfast jaunt to Bohemia Bagel. (My grocery-shopping skills are declining, although I make more and more use of the Modrá Mlekarna to keep from running out of supplies when I can’t bring myself to visit the supermarkets.) Hubert, Jesse, and I then found an antikvariat where we bought some elderly books (I found Nezval’s Jak vejce vejci illustrated by Štyrský) and paid a visit to the David Černý statue we last visited on New Year’s Day, on the grounds that it might be a functional fountain again. It was, but its SMS aspect did not function at all. We were much disappointed.
Since it was a Monday and a holiday at that, pretty much no museums were open except the Smetana museum, which I gather Hubert had been meaning to visit. We persuaded Kelly to join us in examining countless reproductions of documents pertaining to Smetana’s life and work, which I imagine was more interesting than sitting at home, but perhaps not as exciting as his recent travels with Megan. The Smetana museum is beautifully designed and a restful place to spend time, but a bit lacking in contextual material about the composer and his work. As Kelly pointed out, the wall text refers to Smetana’s first wife and then to his second wife without mentioning whether Wife #1 died or was merely left behind somewhere by accident. I thought the numerous references to Smetana’s late illness were rather coy, since it is generally (except by some) accepted that he died of syphilis. Ah well, I remain very partial to Smetana’s work despite the fact that Má Vlast is played constantly in Prague (as if in perpetual motion).
It began to rain heavily as we left the Smetana museum, so we ducked into the Slavia, then met up with Nathan, who is being visited by his wife and her clan. A pleasant time was had by all at the Lucerna, after which Jesse, Hubert, and I made our way to my place to watch a Petr Zelenka film whose name I have regrettably forgotten now that Jesse has taken home the DVD. It was quite good and I realized early on that I had read a version of the script in my Czech Theater class last spring. I am pretty sure, however, that in the version I read, Eva the mannequin has a much larger role and that both Eva and the comforter really do come to life.

The birthday girl and flower-eating cat.

Hubert and the obligatory shot of slivovice.


Anonymous Jesse said...

The film is Příběhy obyčejného šílenství.

April 20, 2006 3:11 PM  

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