September 28, 2011 - Rosh Hashanah

Today is the Jewish New Year and the first of the High Holy Days—ten days leading up to and including Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement. (“Atonement” means making amends for wrongs done in the past.)

Like other holidays, Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown and continues until sundown tomorrow.

This is a happy holiday, marked by the blowing of a horn called shofar and eating sweet foods such as honey and apples, to bring a sweet new year. However, there is a solemn side, too, since the High Holy Days are a time of repentance, feeling sorry for any wrongdoing from the previous year. This time of year is marked by fasting, prayer, and services at the synagogue.

Also on this date:
Day of Czech Statehood – Czech Republic

Prague is the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic.
The Czech state, which is in the middle of Europe, used to be called Bohemia. At times it was a part of the Great Moravian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire, and Czechoslovakia. After World War II, it was a communist-ruled state, but on January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved into the two current nations: the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

So, why celebrate statehood on September 28?

Well, in the Czech Republic, this is Saint Wenceslas Day. A long time ago, on this day in 935, Wenceslas, the Duke of Bohemia and “Good King Wenceslas” of Christmas carol fame, was murdered by his brother. Wenceslas became the “patron saint” of the Czechs.

What does “bohemian” mean?

A person might be called a bohemian if he or she lives an unconventional life, perhaps moving about frequently, with few ties to family, job, or community, and usually involved with the arts. The term began in the 1800s, in France, to describe “gypsies” and other Romani people who came to France through Bohemia.

Sometimes vagabonds, wanderers, and adventurers are called bohemians. Artists, actors, musicians, and writers who have little money and who have anti-establishment viewpoints are often referred to as bohemians. A certain gypsy style of fashion is sometimes referred to as bohemian....

But I personally have never heard someone referred to as Bohemian because he or she came from the Czech Republic!

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