Twenty-five years on from the Velvet Revolution

Havel navždy – Havel forever. © Ricky Yates

I had originally planned to write a blog post on this topic back in November 2014, immediately following the ‘Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day’ public holiday on Monday 17th November, which officially marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Velvet Revolution on 17th November 1989. But rather than write an immediate reaction, I eventually decided that it was better to wait somewhat longer and give myself a little more time for both research and for reflection.

For although the events of 17th November 1989 were what initially triggered the Velvet Revolution, it took several weeks before on 29th December 1989, the previously Communist Party controlled rubber stamp Czechoslovak parliament, voted dissident playwright Václav Havel, to be the new President of Czechoslovakia with the promise of holding truly democratic parliamentary elections in . . . → Read More: Twenty-five years on from the Velvet Revolution

Christmas Eve 2011 in Prague

Tribute to former President Václav Havel in a lady’s fashion shop window © Ricky Yates

I’m writing this on Christmas Eve, just a few hours before setting out from the Chaplaincy Flat to St Clement’s Anglican Episcopal Church in the centre of Prague, in order to celebrate our Christmas Midnight Eucharist which begins at 23.30 this evening. It is now dark and therefore in terms of the liturgical Church year, the season of Advent has ended and we have entered the Christmas season.

As I mentioned in my earlier blogpost entitled ‘Advent Sunday‘, this year, because of Christmas Day being on a Sunday, the preceding season of Advent has been a full four weeks long. Depending on which day of the week Christmas Day falls, in some years the fourth ‘week’ of Advent is only one or two days long. However, further to . . . → Read More: Christmas Eve 2011 in Prague

Václav Havel – death of a statesman

Front page of 'Dnes' – Monday 19th December 2011

Yesterday, Sunday 18th December, was a very significant day in the life of the Anglican Church here in the Czech Republic when we held our first ever service in Brno. However, just as I and five members of the Prague congregation were leaving Coffee Hour following our Sunday morning Eucharist in Prague in order to catch the train to Brno, news reached us of the death of Václav Havel, leading dissident during the communist era, first President of post-communist Czechoslovakia and, following the Velvet Divorce, President of the Czech Republic 1993 -2003.

I returned home from Brno, just after midnight last night, to find the death of Václav Havel as the leading news story on the BBC News website – the first time in over three years of living here in Prague that I can remember a news . . . → Read More: Václav Havel – death of a statesman

The Velvet Revolution – 20 years on

Charcoal roasted ham being cooked on Old Town Square © Ricky Yates

Yesterday, Tuesday 17th November 2009, marked the twentieth anniversary of the start of the events that led to the ‘Sametová Revoluce’, the Velvet Revolution, which saw the demise of the Communist government that had ruled Czechoslovakia for previous forty one years. As I mentioned in my recent blog post about Holidays and Celebrations in the Czech Republic, 17th November is now kept as a public holiday entitled ‘Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day’.

Although not a Czech and having only lived here for 14 months, I was still interested to see how the momentous events of twenty years ago would be celebrated. So early yesterday afternoon, Sybille and I set out from our flat and travelled by bus and Metro to the centre of Prague, in order to soak up the atmosphere.

One thing the . . . → Read More: The Velvet Revolution – 20 years on