Mailbox

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Today in Mailbox: solar boom in the Czech Republic, Czech Christmas carols, customs concerning baking. Listeners quoted: Sanusi Isah Dankaba, Godelieve Boone, Sobota.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s weekly forum for your views, questions and comments.

Sanusi Isah Dankaba from Nigeria asks:

“The sun is a huge power plant that supplies more energy to the earth in one hour than is currently consumed worldwide in a year. Why is solar energy not developed in such an exemplary way in the Czech Republic and are there many innovative solar projects in the Czech Republic?”

The Czech Republic recently experienced a boom in solar power thanks to government efforts to support clean energy with subsidies. But the plan backfired: so many solar plants were built that consumers, both households and businesses, faced much larger electricity bills in 2011. Earlier this week, the lower house of Parliament passed a bill aiming to curb the solar boom proposing a 26 percent tax on subsidies and an increase in charges for land leased for the location of solar panels.

Godelieve Boone from Belgium had this query:

“In the attachment you will find a scan from an old 33-t vinyl with texts of Christmas carols. I’m looking now for the written music but I don’t know where to obtain them. And of course, any other Moravian or Czech as well Slovakian carol is welcome.”

I entered the name of the ensemble in Google and found their contact details which you will find in the e-mail reply. Meanwhile anyone who would like to hear some Czech Christmas carols will find them on our website www.radio.cz/en/static/christmas/carols. They are sung by Radio Prague staff the exact same way as they are sung in thousands of homes across the Czech Republic.

A person who signed themselves only as Sobota had this question:

“I am writing a book about Czech culture. Some time ago, I read about a Czech bread recipe, probably for rye bread, that in ancient times the baker – which was usually a woman – danced during the preparation of this bread. The dance and wording helped the bread bake better! Unfortunately I cannot find this source again on the Internet. After some days of searching for it without success, in despair I turn to you at Czech Radio! I would kindly ask your help concerning the confirmation of this tradition – is it true or not – and if possible could I get the recipe for this bread and could you tell me if there is any place in Prague where it is sold nowadays.”

We are no experts on ethnography here at Radio Prague. The Czech Republic may be small but I dare say that bread baking customs differed pretty much in every village. The real experts who might be able to answer your question or suggest relevant reading material are to be found for example at the Ethnography institute and the Ethnography Museum. You’ll find the links in the transcript of this programme.

www.nm.cz/historicke-muzeum/narodopisne-oddeleni.php

www.mzm.cz/mzm/oddeleni/etnograficky_ustav.html

And finally it’s time for our regular quiz question:

This month as we are looking for the name of the Czech-German author and historian who was born in Prague in 1896 and died in 1970 in Rome.

We are expecting your answers here at English@radio.cz or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic by the end of November. Please join me again next week, same time, same frequency.