Thursday, 24 December 2009

Veselé Vánoce!

In the Czech Republic, 24 December, not 25th, is the day on which presents are traditionally given out under the tree. And it's not Santa who brings them, but baby Jesus himself, or 'Ježíšek', as he's known in these parts.

Since the revolution of 1989, with the massive influx of Western businesses (and, like yours truly, Westerners), Ježíšek has been locked in commercial battle with Santa, and a couple of years ago there was actually a 'Ban Santa' campaign waged in the streets of Prague, largely in protest at the vastly-inflated plastic Clauses nodding their collective beards and bobble hats outside every shop you could think of.

The iconic Christ-child of this city is a doll, the so-called 'Pražské Jezulátko' or Infant Jesus of Prague, which was donated to the local Carmelite order by the influential Polyxena von Lobkowitz (of whom more in a later post)  in 1628. It can be seen in the Kostel Panny Marie Vítězné (church of Our Lady Victorious) in Prague 1. The doll has its clothes changed regularly - some of the costumes are really quite spectacular - and to it are attributed a number of miracles. 

These wooden decorations on my kitchen table are altogether more simple: the Holy Family wait, like all of us, for that particular present to be unwrapped. Next week I'm in England, and may be out of touch for a day or two - please forgive any unwonted breaks in transmission. A Happy Christmas to one and all! Alex

3 comments:

Gunn White said...

Beautiful ART!
GOD JUL / Merry Christmas to you and your family!:-)

Julie said...

Cultural imperialism: bah humbug!

I wish you a day of love and laughter tomorrow, wherever you may be, Alex. Tomorrow and into the New Year.

Leif Hagen said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Fun to read about your Christmas traditions and the differences!

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