Happy October! Counties all over the state are once again proclaiming it Czech Heritage Month in Texas. This type of official recognition of the importance of Czech influence and history is always validating. However, it will never take the place of individuals and families prioritizing activities that support or actively pass on Texas-Czech traditions to their children. If the community wants to be recognizing anything other than history during this month in a generation or two, we members have to be deliberately and consistently making Texas-Czech traditions a part of our daily (or weekly or monthly) lives.
I challenge you to celebrate your Czech-ness this month by taking these words to heart. And, most importantly, remember that recognition and innate love of heritage starts at home... early. If you act like it's important, your children (and grandchildren, nieces, nephews) will, too. If you don't have children, support activities and attend events so that they continue for the whole community.
Here are some ideas:
- Play tarok - find someone in your community to teach you. I'll help you!
- Bake something, even if you do it poorly.
- Visit the Czech related museums in La Grange, Schulenburg, Temple, Houston, San Antonio.
- Go to a polka dance, even if you sit on the sidelines visiting. Keep yourself up to date by subscribing to the fantastic PolkaBeat email list.
- Patronize your local meat market or bakery.
- Attend an event this month (a few highlights below.) Check out the calendar on Chris and Edita Rybak's website and there are others. If an audience doesn't show up, the church picnics, cultural festivals, and baking contests will stop happening.
- Tune in to a polka radio show - they're all over Texas and on the internet, too.
- Join your local Czech club, heritage, or genealogy society. I consistently hear from clubs statewide, "How do we get younger people involved?"
- Enroll your children in Sokol, if they're interested in gymnastics. There are Sokol units in Corpus Christi, Houston, Dallas, West, and Ennis.
- Recall those Czech phrases you learned as a kid - speaking a few words, a prayer, even cursing in Czech will help keep the culture alive a little longer. That's right, I'm advocating cursing in Czech, if that's what it takes.
... please help support the production of Texas Czechs: Rooted in Tradition, the multimedia, traveling exhibit that Lori Navar and I have been working on for a year. The exhibit will document and celebrate the traditions and activities of 21st century Texas Czechs.
We are in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 for the exhibit - the link is here. You can watch a fun, three-minute video about the traditions we're documenting and a synopsis of the project. PLEASE look at the campaign page - we promise you'll be inspired.
This exhibit is a labor of love for Lori and I; a legacy project, if you will. We want to inspire YOU. We hope the practical results of a successful 3-year tour of the exhibit will be: increased attendance at polka dances and church picnics; increased sales of poppyseeds and dried prunes around the state; more entries in tarok tournaments; schools having to add Czech classes because of demand. We're thinking big! Won't you help us?
October 2013 Texas Czech events of note:
- 4-6th - Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg has some Czech bands playing
- 5th - Cesky Vecer dinner hosted by the Austin Czech Historical Association
- 11 and 12th - Heritage Festival and Musiky at the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center, La Grange
- 11 and 12th - acoustic band Druha Trava from the Czech Republic plays in Dallas on the 11th and Winnsboro on the 12th
- 12th - Second Saturday Program for kids age 5 to 10 at the Czech Heritage Museum and Library, Temple
- 13th - 100th anniversary celebration of the Moravian Club in Corn Hill with homemade sausage!
- 20th - Czech Heritage Festival sponsored by the Bexar Co. CHS, San Antonio
- 23rd - Czech Day at the SPJST Assisted Living and Nursing Center at 2pm, Taylor
- 26th - Czech Oktoberfest at the Czech Center Museum Houston.
- all month - visit the Czech Muzika: Texas Style exhibit at the Czech Heritage Museum and Library, Temple
- all month Sts. Cyril and Methodius display at the Doherty Library at St. Thomas University, Houston
- all month check out Czech displays at St. Louis School and Windsor Park Library in Austin
The photos in this post are all from Czech events I've attended in the last month... Westfest in West, The Caldwell Kolache Festival, Victoria County Czech Heritage Festival, and the 50th Annual Slavic Heritage Festival in Houston.