Today is St. Martin’s Day in the Czech Republic. Mostly it’s a European holiday, and in Czech it’s celebrated with a goose or duck meal. I was with some teammates today at a restaurant and everything was duck. I even had what I’ll call duck noodle soup. This particular restaurant even offered a family size goose meal if you ordered in advance. You could say today’s specials were duck, duck, or goose (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Today is also the Czech name day for “Martin.” Every day of the year has a name associated with it in Czech and today is Martin. I can only assume that’s on purpose. Below is a photo of the chalk board sign they had at up at the restaurant today.
As I did a little online research on St. Martin’s Day, I found a few interesting things. One thing actually helped explain something from the other night that I didn’t understand. Remember when we were at Titus’ preschool and we walked around town with lanterns? Well, in most Western European countries, they have been doing this for many years in the days leading up to St. Martin’s Day. According to Wikipedia, in Germany “children walk in processions carrying lanterns, which they made in school, and sing Martin songs. Usually, the walk starts at a church and goes to a public square.” This is almost exactly what Titus did the other night which really helps explain at least the origin of the tradition for me.
The second interesting thing I read was that in Czech, St. Martin’s Day signifies the first half of November when it usually starts to snow. Today that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even as I type at 9:00pm, it’s only 55 degrees out and just a few hours ago I was playing tennis outside in the driveway with the kids at it was 60. There was a lady working in our entry way (she works for our landlord who lives upstairs) and she said to me, “teplo noc” which means “warm night.” I said, “Ano! Moc templo” which means “Yes! Very warm.” Now, you might think 60 degrees isn’t that warm for some parts of the world but for here it’s very nice. When you only have to wear a sweatshirt and not a snow jacket outside, you know it’s nice. I’ll take a teplo noc any day in November.
I was really encouraged today by some Czech language CDs that a teammate gave to my team. I started listening to them in the car today and in an hour’s worth of time (round trip to the JV office and back) I learned a bunch of new phrases. It helps that we’ve been engaged in language already, but I was able to talk a little tonight with our landlord. It’s amazing how even just being to say, “I understand” or “I don’t understand” can keep a conversation going. My landlord and I talked about a light being broken in the garage and what I got out of the conversation is that she wants me to email her. As always, I’ll take the win with that one!