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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Street Festivals

Namesti Miru Festival

Like any city, Prague invites its neighborhoods to hold street festivals. Being an ancient town (Praha laid its foundation in Roman times, but has really been a continuous “city” since 900), Prague has many squares, those places where farmers and traders gathered to sell their produce and goods, where folk gathered for Church (every square has its church; the two terms are virtually joined at the hip), where slaves where sold, where the pious burned the heritics at the stake, and where tyrants met death at the end of a rope or the chop of an ax. Oh! What fun times those must have been!Anyway…

Czech in Folk CostumeNamesti Miru, site of a large square in front of a big church, has weekly fairs now that autumn has settled in. I wouldn’t exactly liken this weekend’s fair akin to Germany’s Octoberfest, but it’s close. The sausages sizzle on the grill; wine merchants have steel vats from which they poor a concoction that tastes like a mix between wine and beer; and there is straight wine, but mulled or something, which gives it a sweetened, easy drinking, just-plain-good-stuff taste.

There are other boothes that have tradition foods, such as the pastry that is wound around a steel cylinder then hot-coal baked till brown, and sprinkled with sugar. Remember the finger ring suckers? Or wax lips?

Czech CakeThis pastry you can wear on your wrist as a bangle, for you to nibble on while walking through the aisles between the booths selling candy, home-knitted scarves and socks, beeswax candles, costume jewelery, draught horns, leather products, breads and (more) pastries, and lots of farmer’s cheeses.

I happened to be at Nam Miru this evening, and the crowd was thick. The food lines (sausages and potato pancakes and meat-or-fruit-filled pastries) were long; everyone had a glass of wine in one hand, with a backup bottle tucked in a backpack. All I could think was, “These Czech’s know how to throw a party!”

Music is played, cigarettes are smoked, drunken teens are pulled from the crowd by cops.

Ah, the circle of life!

Czech Yarner

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