How does a man perceive pregnancy? Are Czechs good cooks and why is every one calling the Czech president Santa Klaus? Find out more in this week's edition of Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
This may be hard to believe but a hundred or so years ago people skied down Prague's Wenceslas Square. Not only was there very little traffic of any kind, but there was also a lot of snow at the time. However old habits die hard - and so this week Prague's inhabitants looked on in amazement as a twenty skiers made their way down Prague's Myslikova street. Unfortunately for the contestants the climate has changed a lot over the past 100 years and there wasn't a snowflake in sight to smooth the way. However they did their best, scraping their skis over the cobblestones and struggling to avoid dog excrements along the way. Two years ago a group of friends were sitting in a popular Prague sports restaurant called Kandahar, cracking jokes and drinking beer when someone suggested skiing from Prague's Strahov district to the doors of Kandahar. There was snow on the ground at the time and the enterprise proved a lot of fun. This year the competitors had a hard time keeping the tradition alive - and some of them may have doubted the sanity of their actions as they struggled to complete the course. However, all of them made it bravely to the doors of Kandahar and rewarded themselves generously for their efforts once inside.
Christmas time is linked to a great many traditions in the Czech Republic - and one of the old beliefs is that if a young woman knocks on the door of a hen house on St Ondrej's day - on the first advent weekend - and a rooster answers the knock then she is sure to get married that year. Another - somewhat more poetic way- of finding out one's fate is to pick an armful of cherry tree branches on St. Barbara's day i.e. on December 4th. You put them in water and wait. If by Xmas the branches have blossomed then you are sure to dance at your own wedding before the year is out. Although I don't know of anybody who goes round knocking on hen-houses nowadays, people still adhere to the latter tradition and cherry branches are sold at Xmas fairs across the country.
You know the moment when -crossing the border - you are asked whether you have anything to declare? Well, people occasionally get away with forgetting a thing or two. But border police are still shaking their heads over Polish tourist who "forgot" to declare 23 kilograms of gold and a bag of silver jewellery worth an estimated five million crowns. The man was crossing the Czech-Austrian border by bus when officials asked him to open up his three suitcases. Much to their surprise the bags were chock full of silver and gold.
President Vaclav Klaus will give one very special Xmas present this year. He has announced his intention to issue his very first presidential pardon this Xmas. I think it is rather appropriate in the Xmas season, he told the media.
A pardon from President Klaus is to be highly valued - since he made it very clear from the outset that he would dispense pardons only very rarely -if he felt they were well deserved. 600 prisoners are now holding their breath. Out of 900 requests for pardon the president has so far turned down 300. 600 remain to be considered.
The daily cooking is mostly the woman's work -it is only in every fifth Czech household that the husband and wife take turns cooking dinner. However close to two thirds of Czech men admit that they CAN cook when they are in the mood for it. Men tend to have a few specialities -often family recipes -which they are very proud of and which they produce with a flourish when there's company. They usually make terrific game and use their imagination much more than women do when cooking. However there are a few strings attached - they expect a lot of praise when the masterpiece is on the table and doing the dishes is generally a no-no. How can you expect an artist to dirty his hands with the washing up?