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Czech Life

Burning witches and swan-shaped pedaloes

It snowed in Prague yesterday.  It is May.

I feel lied to.  The Prague weather has been mis-sold.

Everyone told me to look forward to the spring.  And spring seemed (at least temporarily) to be here… Prague changed dramatically throughout March and April,  as the weather became more temperate.  The snow stopped, apparently only for a time.  I packed away the winter clothes, hats, scarves and boots and sent my lovely winter coat to the dry cleaners.  I turned off the central heating and opened all the windows.

What a fool I felt as I scampered around Prague yesterday with no coat, freezing my arse off.

But all the signs had been there.  The sun has been shining. The flowers were out.  Petrin Hill was covered in cherry blossom.  Easter festivities were enjoyed.  For those not in the know, Czechs celebrate a very bizarre array of  rituals around Easter time.  Pomlazka (from the ancient Czech word pomladit meaning “to make younger”) is the most intriguing and involves whipping girls and women with willow twigs.  Many Czech women are also doused with cold water early on Easter Monday.  This is all tied up with ancient rituals about youth and fertility, and is a lot of fun.

On Saturday we went to the burning of the witches celebration at Kampa, which involves the burning of Morena. Morena is the pagan goddess of winter and death and by burning her and letting her ashes flow away in the water, Czechs bid farewell to the winter and welcome the spring.  Spring! Not snow!

Anyway, we went to the burning of the witches on Saturday with some friends.  Actually, we all got there late and missed the actual burning bit, but did enjoy the beer and sausages and strangely Irish-sounding folk music. Then a massive thunder-storm started so we retreated to the pub.  It was a lot like your standard Guy Fawkes night crossed with Halloween. 

Apparently this mid-spring dip in the weather is not unusual.  I have been assured that spring proper will return soon and summer will follow rapidly after.  I really hope so as I’m ready now.  I’ve done the preparation:  I spent a happy afternoon on Sunday wandering through Letna and Stromovka parks for the first time.  Unbelievably beautiful and surprisingly meadow-y, given their central location. I have a lot of sitting-in-parks to do and the snow is getting in my way!

Stomovka park in the (fake) spring


I have also been eying up the pedaloes on the Vltava.  There is one shaped like a swan which I am particularly drawn to.  How much more summer-loving could you get than cruising about the river on a swan?! 

There is nothing that says "Summer" louder than a swan-shaped pedalo

So with parks and swans and summer holidays,  there’s a lot to look forward to.  But the main reason I need the summer to get here, and fast, is that once I have turned the heating off, I cannot bring myself to turn it back on.  I think hubby might stop talking to me if this goes on much longer…

p.s. I just re-checked the weather forecast. It should be 21 degrees and sunny by Saturday. Time to break out The Swan!


About CzechingIn

A blog about an English lady living in Prague.


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