Mailbox

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Welcome to Mailbox, today with Olga Szantova and Dita Asiedu, because Nicole Klement is off skiing in the mountains.

D: It's the main season for skiing - around Christmas I mean and this year with all the snow all the resorts were really full. It's really a popular way of spending the holiday.

O: Which partly answers a question e-mailed by Adam Stonehill

"You spoke about Christmas Eve and the various Christmas traditions in the Czech Republic, but what happens after the three main days ? Is that the end of Christmas?"

O: Well, for us Christmas actually ends today, on January 6th it's Epiphany, the day the three wise men, according to the St.Mathew's gospel, having followed the Star of Bethlehem came to adore the Infant Jesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

D: And it's a tradition that three boys, dressed as the three wise men, or rather three kings as they're known here, go from house to house singing special carols for that day collecting candy and cakes.

O: The three kings bring luck for the new year to every house they visit and to show they have been there, they write the three letters K plus M plus B with chalk above the gate - the letters standing for the names of the three wise men - Kaspar, Melichar and Baltazar.

D: And people try to keep those three letters on their houses as long as possible, so that the luck they bring lasts, too.

O: And that's the real end of Christmas, Christmas trees are taken down on the 6th as well as all the decorations, and the New Year begins in earnest.

D: And for us, here at Radio Prague, it's obviously our last chance to thank listeners for their Christmas cards and wishes for the New Year.

O: And for their appreciation of our Christmas web-site and the Christmas carols some Radio Prague staff members recorded and which many of our listeners heard, and are still listening to. Michael Stevenson, writes from New South Wales, Australia

"I have listened to Radio Prague's special Christmas programmes and visited your web site. Your web site has been really well done and I very much enjoyed listening to the 13 carols which were recorded very well I listened in MP-3, the quality was terrific and the Radio Prague Choir did an excellent job, thank you very much for doing this for us listeners for Christmas. Is Radio Prague considering doing a cd to sell to interested listeners?"

D: No, I'm sorry, Michael, we are not thinking of selling the recording of our staff members singing Xmas carols. You see, we do not have a sales department and there's no way we could sell any recordings. But you can find them on Radio Prague's web-site, in the archive section, throughout the year.

O: And talking about Radio Prague's web-site, listeners who have access to the internet will want to know that as of today Mailbox will be on the web-site, so you can read it if you don't manage to listen on Sunday night, or come back to it if there is some topic you'd like to know more about.

D: But, back to the recording of Christmas carols on Radio Prague's web-sites. We never expected it to be such a success. Many listeners have written how much they enjoy it. Uta Helmbold-Rollik e-mails

"What a wonderful idea to make such a present! You would not have thought that you had only two weeks of rehearsal (and I know what I am talking about as I am a member of a church choir myself). Could you please help me by translating some of the carols?"

O: Now that's another question that keeps coming up - translations of Czech texts. We ourselves cannot possibly do such translations, working on our radio programs keeps us quite busy.

D: And talking of Radio, Christer Brunstrom from Halmstad, Sweden writes

"This new year marks my 40th anniversary as a shortwave listener. One of my very first reports went to Radio Prague's Swedish section. So it's only natural that my very first 2002 report is for Radio Prague. I understand that you will offer a new series of QSL-cards during 2002. I look forward to receiving one."

D: and Swopan Chakroborty of Kolkata,India writes

"Please let me know about your new series of QSL cards for the year 2002."

O: As regular listeners know, we do have a special series of QSL cards every year and a number of listeners have already been asking what the new series would be like.

D: Many listeners try to have the complete collection of each year's series, so before we tell you more about the new QSL cards, just a reminder that listeners who do not have the complete collection for 2001

O: which showed old radio sets and old microphones

D: yes - and listeners can still get their missing cards if they ask for them. Otherwise we will be acknowledging reception reports for programs heard in 2002 with the new QSL cards.

O: Which brings us to the original question - what will the new QSL cards be like. It's a series of 8 cards, and each one of them shows a different UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Czech Republic

D: Not all the sites - there's 8 QSL cards and the Czech Republic has 10 historic sites recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

O: No, sorry, you're wrong. Now it's 11 sites. UNESCO added the Tugendhat villa in Brno to the list of World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic at the end of last year.

D: Yes, you're right and there were some discussions about the decision, because all the sites recognized before that are many hundreds of years old, and the Tugendhat villa is very new in comparison, it was built in 1930.

O: But it is a very valuable and very unique example of functionalist architecture, probably the most valuable piece of modern architecture in the country. Architect Mies van der Rohe managed to integrate the modern steel and glass building into the countryside in such a way that experts have been admiring it till this day.

D: Which is true even though the fate of the building itself has not been exactly rosy. The family that had it built did not live there long. They fled before Hitler's occupation just 8 years after they had moved in.

O: And throughout the years it was used for various purposes, rented out and even used by the army. It now belongs to the Brno city Museum which will have to see to its being brought back to its original state, now that it is a World Heritage.

D: A rule which has helped all the other UNESCO recognized historic sites, all of them have really changed for the better over the past years.

O: And listeners can see photos of 8 of them on this year's QSL cards. The photos on them are really nice, but there is no room for information about each of the places. So I suggest we give listeners at least some basic information about each of the places they'll see on the QSL cards.

D: I suggest one site a week, so we have time to discuss other issues mentioned in listener's letters.

O: Fine, we'll do that beginning with next week. And don't forget, you'll be able to find the text on Radio Prague's web-site - that's on www.radio.cz. Right now it's time to end today's Mailbox. This is Olga Szantova

D: and Dita Asieddu wishing you all the best on this day of the three wise men. And here is one of the special carols for the day - My tri kralove jdeme k vam - We three kings are coming to you.

Authors: Dita Asiedu , Olga Szantová
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