Celebrate Your Culture (whatever it is!)

Czech-flagEach one of my four kids could tell you the Czech word for washcloth… zinka…and that was about all they knew of their 50% paternal Bohemian heritage in spite of their four great grandparents being first generation immigrants.

We did celebrate other cultures…enjoying corned beef and cabbage every St Pat’s Day, usually preparing Latin food for Cinco de Mayo in May and ordering out for Chinese New Year.  There just didn’t seem any place in the calendar to celebrate being Czech.

As the non-Czech in the crowd yet the self-appointed event planner in our family, I decided to fill the gap.  October 28 marks the day that the Czech Republic first became a country in 1918 so we decided to set aside that day for our celebration.

I remembered some of the food that my husband’s grandmother, Babi, used to prepare so I started with those recipes.  Pork roast seemed easy but plum dumplings and red cabbage were not typical menu items for us.

Dessert was easy…kolachky of course.  Delicious small pastries filled with an assortment of fruit concoctions.  Babi’s recipes included such directions as a half an egg-shell of water so I decided just to purchase those.  We knew of a Bohemian bakery on the other side of the city but it was worth the drive for the celebration.

The day of our dinner, I overheard one of our kids casually mentioning to a friend that we were celebrating Czech Independence that night like that was a normal thing for us to do 🙂

Over dinner, Tom shared Czech history stories and we both talked about what we remembered about the relatives.  The celebration was a huge success, especially the kolachky!

We repeated the event every fall for their growing up years and when a school project assignment was ancestral heritage, all the kids were ready.  Years later our youngest daughter, Christa, studied abroad in college and chose to go to Prague to embrace her heritage in spite of not know any of the language, except, of course, zinka!  Since her direct foray into the Czech culture, most of us have made a visit including Gabe & Kim on their honeymoon last August.

I found some magnets on-line that proclaimed “Half Czech is better than none” and put them in their Christmas stockings.  Each one of our adult kids now sports one of these on their own refrigerators.  The cultural baton has been passed.

Tom and I in Prague

Tom and I on the Charles Bridge in Prague for our 60th birthdays.

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