What does Jan Hus day mean to ordinary Czechs?

Discussion in 'Culture' started by michal7, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. michal7

    michal7 Active Member

    I'm very interested to know more about what Jan Hus has contributed to Czech society and what do ordinary Czechs think of him these days?
  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Well, for start - his last words were, "The truth will prevail." and these words are inscribed on the Czech presidential ensign.
  3. Petr_B

    Petr_B Well-Known Member

    I may be too blunt here, but I would say that most of us just don't care. The most important thing about 6th July is we don't have to go to work/school, same about the 5th July (Cyril and Methodius). I guess most people know who he was, but to actually care ... no way. Obligatory Hus movie aired on TV doesn't count ;)

    As you could've read in other threads on this forum, Czechs are not generally too religious which is one of the reasons. But I think we don't really look up even at other much more important people in our history like T.G. Masaryk. And I don't even want to start discussion if there is actually a reason we should look up at Jan Hus. Of course, people who follow Hus' teachings think different. Though, it would be hard to describe them as "ordinary people", since such people are tiny minority here.
  4. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Oh, that is not easy to answer in a few lines. Are you interested in “Jan Hus in person” or “Jan Hus - the legend(s)”? Not neglecting the first one, the latter one did more affected the Czech history/society.
    The ordinary Czechs think he was incorrupt reformer of the corrupt Catholic Church. The truth is not so simple, of course.
    A biblic quote used by Hus, but not his last words. And the modern (= cca last 200 years) interpretation of the quote differs from the original meaning “The God’s Truth will prevail”.
    I agree the 6th July is for most of Czechs nothing but an exceptional vacancy. But michal7’s question was about Jan Hus, not about this day, correct?
  5. Karkulka

    Karkulka Active Member

    No, he asked "what does Jan Hus Day means to ordinary Czech´s". And I agree, that to ordinary Czech people that day means, that they don´t have to go to work/school. In fact, I believe that many Czech people don´t even know, what´s special on that day, the important fact is for them, that it is day off. I am not in CR now, but in Belgium, so it would be normal working day, but if I was back there, the only thing I´d care is that it is day off. Honest. That´s how the things are for ordinary Czech.
  6. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Yes, I see it now, he did ask in the title.
    I disagree, you can hardly find a Czech who is not familiar with the story.
  7. Karkulka

    Karkulka Active Member

    Oh, yes they are familiar with the story. The way I meant it, is that if I will not look into calendar and see it is Jan Hus Day, I will not know. I will be totally happy if somebody tells me something like "next week, Thursday and Friday are days off". And I will not investigate why.. :|
  8. MacDude

    MacDude Member

    And of those who are religious, most are not Hussite Reformist Christians probably! I remember reading that Czechia has a Catholic religious majority nowadays (in the countryside, outside of Prague, away from the centre of temptation... :lol:

    It's like that in North America too. Most religious holidays (Xmas and Thanksgiving) are still official national holidays, but -- for most young people -- not so much about the birth and rebirth of Jesus, but more about the gathering of families and friends.

    Incidentally, the same can be said about most other national holidays here (BC Civic Day, Labour Day, and especially Victoria Day). No distinct celebrations, other than maybe some fireworks. For me at least, they are all Stroll in a Park and then Overeat Day.
  9. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    Thanksgiving is a religious holiday? Is the rebirth of Jesus symbolized by eating a turkey? That's rather morbid.
  10. MacDude

    MacDude Member

    Hhahah! Sorry, my point exactly.... My parents were raised Christians, but apparently they didn't instruct me much about the traditions. I meant Easter..... :wink:
  11. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Well, there is a prevalent myth about the Hussite movement. In fact it was a part of much bigger tendency around all of Europe where anti-catholic sects arose (for example Lolards in England and such). But in Czech lands, this sects prevailed. And after the hussite wars, the country was about 30 years behind with development...

    Jan Hus was surely a reformist and his ideas of ecclesiatic reformation were interesting but there are also some not so good ideas coming from his head. Most of all, it was the expulsion of german masters from the Charles University. This caused continuous decline of the institution lasting to 18th century.

    However, what definitely was an excellent idea coming from Hus' head, was the reform of Czech orthography. Hus has proved to be a very good analyst and only because of him, we are now writing "český" and not "czeskyy" (as in English word "Czech" :twisted: ).

    And concerning the opinions of ordinanry Czech people? They have no idea about the orthographical reform (nor can they appreaciate its real impact). And the other problems are strongly influenced by the past view in the era of communism and the first republic when Hus was glorified as a national hero and martyr because he could be made use of in ideological matters as a part of our identity partially defined by the opposition to Germany and Catholic church lasting about thousand years (it is true that for all our history, Germany tried to gain control over the Czech lands, let it be in 10th century, in 13th, in 17th... in fact it ended in 1945... and catholic religion was one of their frequent instruments). Hus was clearly against Germans (expulsion of German masters) and against the Church (the Church should live in poverty), so he became an icon and this image prevails even now.
  12. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    That's right, the resurrection of Jesus symbolized by rabbits and eggs!!! (Fertility symbols of paganism!) :roll:
  13. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Anti-catholic sects? That’s a little derogatory terminology, isn’t? To label somebody as anti-catholic you need a clear definition of catholicism, and at that time there was any. The whole Latin Europe was in disputes about it. Just remember the two (three…) popes.

    At first, don’t call it sect. The term could be appropriate for Adamites or even for Taborites. But definitely not for the whole Hussite movement. The winning Hussite fraction, the noblemen union, was far of being a sect.

    And it is not right, Hussites prevailed in Bohemia, but most of the Czech lands were anti-Hussite.

    That’s war. (And the lag caused by a 30 years war is not 30 years.)

    Sorry Eleshar, but this is not right. Hus iniciated the change of voting rights at the University to the benefit of the Czech branch, but there was no expulsion of Germans. They left the University on their own in spite of Hus’ persuasion to stay. And a lot of foreigners did stay.
    Again, that is not right. A lot of competent foreigners left the University, but the level of the University was immediately increased by the influx of new Czech elites. The University became the intellectual centre of the Hussite movement and could be considered biased in religious matters, but not backward. In science, it was still the most advanced University in the Central Europe. There was a lot of scientists among Hussites, the Hussite rector of the University Christianus de Prachaticz for example. Besides being a Hussite and Catholic (sic!) clergyman, he was a very good physician, an excellent astronomer and extraordinary mathematician (the first Christian concerned in numerical mathematics).

    The decline of the University started with the disgrace of catholic kings (Jagiellons and later Habsburgs), continued with the establishing of the concurrent Jesuit college promoted by the kings and culminated with the Czech phase of the Thirty Years' War (resulting in submiting of the University to the Jesuit college).

    It is not sure it is from his head, but he definitely promoted it.

    That is not right, Hus was promoting the Czech branch at the University, but he was not against Germans.

    And it is not right the Hussite wars was a Czech-German conflict, that’s only a modern misinterpretations. In fact, proportionally there was more Germans among Hussites than among anti-Hussite crusaders. Even the Hussite leaders were often Germans, Prokop Holý (Procopius Rasus) first of all. The German speaking Upper Austria was pro-Hussite, the Czech speaking Moravia was anti-Hussite etc.

    He was not against the Church, he was a catholic priest. The moralizing about the Church wealth was common at that time, Hus was not exceptional for it. And he was not burned because of it.

    The paradox is it was Church’s decision. The Church incorporated it into christian traditions to eliminate the paganism.
  14. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Eliminate paganism is not incorrect but a better choice of words may be that the church incorporated them as a compromise to convert pagans to Catholicism -- as conversion was the ultimate goal. Granted, complete conversion is elimination, but elimination of paganism doesn't imply conversion which was really the goal of the church and perhaps really what you wanted to say, given that English is not your first language.
  15. fabik317

    fabik317 Well-Known Member

    "What does Jan Hus day mean to ordinary Czechs?"

    his primary influence on ordinary czechs is that we can't get away with just ASCII :twisted:
  16. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    …as a mean to take over the followers of pagan priests, to weaken their position and to butcher them.

    …as a prevention of apostasy of the nominally converted christians.

    …as a mean to pretend that the nominally converted christians still practising paganism are real christians to prevent the invasion of the neighbours trying to demonstrate the christianity of their mostly pagan populated country by fighting in the name of cross.

    Maybe it was different in different parts of world, but this was the reality in Central Europe.

    – as creating of universal christian world by all means as quickly as possible…
  17. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    Thank you, everyone. I have learned a lot from this thread.

    All I would say is that it is nice having bank holidays that actually mean something, however little that something means to the population. In the UK, apart from the religious holidays, and May Day - which some people resent anyway as being reminiscent of a Communist workers' day - we just have things like 'Spring Bank Holiday' or 'August Bank Holiday'.

    At least Czechs won't forget important dates in their history. I don't suppose many people in the UK even know the precise date of the end of WWII!
  18. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Or perhaps my "former-hippie, liberal" American professors twisted history a bit in the name of "bleeding heart political correctness"
  19. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Thanksgiving can be a religious observance(thanking God for all that we have) or secular, just recognizing we should be grateful.

    That's interesting about the orthography.
    So the long vowels represent what in early writing would have been double letters. Wasn't aware of that.

    Dzurisova...sounds like you weren't to happy with the college faculty.
    Everybody has an agenda. Left leaning thought is way overrepresented in American Universities.

    Interesting discussion about Jan Hus.
  20. MichaelM

    MichaelM Well-Known Member

    Just a small note about Thanksgiving in the US. It is not a religious holiday as many (even here in the US) think. It was a national holiday declared by our President Lincoln in November of 1863 (during our civil war) to commemorate winning the battle of Gettysburg (July 1863) and as a symbol of the wish for reunification of the country. Just in case anyone wants to know.

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