Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Following the Star



Today is Twelfth Night or Three Kings Eve in the Czech Republic. There will be a ceremony in Cesky Krumlov Town Square to mark the end of the Christmas celebrations, when children will dress up as the kings, sing and collect money for the Catholic Charity. On Friday afternoon we caught a taster of the ceremony when we came across three (rather young) kings standing on the wooden bridge at Latran holding a cardboard star on a stick and a collection box. The star reminded me of the shooting star which is the emblem of the Cowley Road Carnival back in Oxford, which I was involved in setting up.

Later that evening we were walking up the hill from Horice Na Sumave towards our home. The sky above our heads formed a huge starlit dome. The moon was in its crescent form and a planet shone brightly a little way from its tip. Suddenly across the sky, almost parallel with the horizon but arcing slightly down came a meteor. I have spoken before of the displays of falling stars we get sometimes on our night walks to our Czech home, but this was different. This must have been extremely close, as it was a large ball of light rather than a faint speck, and instead of falling straight, it sped like a jet fighter from north to south. The other amazing thing about it was the long tail of light that trailed behind it. I saw Halley's comet when it came close a few years ago and which it has been suggested was the star of Bethlehem, but this was more spectacular. Had I been a magi, I would have followed it, but I would have needed something faster than a camel to do so. It certainly unnerved me, I have never seen anything like it and its size and low downward projection meant that for a while I listened for an explosion when the thing hit earth, but none came. My Czech esoteric friends would see it as a portent of some forthcoming event. They are all saying that 2012 will be see end of the world, for a few minutes I thought they might have got it wrong by a couple of years.

Update: I am now offering holidays built about traditional Czech customs such as this one, check out http://www.czechtours.co.uk/celebrations for more

1 comment:

Philip Wilkinson said...

There's something charming and homespun about this – I hope that doesn't sound condescending - with the kings' costumes barely hiding their padded jackets. This, and the fact that they were out there early, makes it clear that they're doing this because they really want to. Long may they continue.

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