hello friends, i hope you had a nice halloween if you celebrate it! as it is one of my favorites, you can bet i did. it was the fourth we’ve celebrated abroad and it really came and went without too much fanfare. (below, the state of the backyard this morning)
it’s been interesting talking about this holiday with the groups of teenagers i teach. usually about half the class seems interested and celebrates the holiday in some way (whether that is some activities at their school, going to a halloween party or gathering, carving a pumpkin, or even getting dressed up!), one or two are completely indifferent and don’t celebrate it, and there is always one who doesn’t like it and prefers the czech holiday dušičky, which is celebrated today, november first and sometimes on halloween as well.
this holiday is a quiet time of contemplation and involves going to the cemetery with your family to light a candle and pay respects to the souls of departed friends and relatives. as one of my friends put it: it is a time to think a lot about your life. a bit of a far cry from what the halloween celebrations of today are like! also, i can pronounce dušičky correctly probably two out of ten times. my classes usually giggle when i try this. (photo via)
but fortunately, budejovice has a pretty sizeable young international crowd and there’s always a great halloween party to be had. this year, it was particularly nice, although i completely forgot to take photos! picture drinks with gummy spiders in them. anyhow, we needed some sustenance so i cooked my favorite halloween meal: stuffed pepper jack-o-lanterns (filled with black rice, onions, garlic, feta, & tomatoes) and a butternut squash soup.
then into our costumes and off we went! (the dude and walter from the big lebowski) the dude abides, you know.
a little offbeat, no? i think next year i would prefer to forgo the fake mustache! especially when at the party, someone said “every time i see you, you are a man!” …. yep.
this weekend has been utterly beautiful here in south bohemia. the temperatures are mild, the colors are brighter and more vivd than ever, the sun is shining, and autumn is in full swing. it was lovely to take a halloween walk around town headed for stromovka park (almost every czech city has a park named stromovka, really!) i had not particularly cared for ours before because it was a bit wild and unkempt, but yesterday with the freshly cut grass and the leaves blowing about, it really shone.
the only more beautiful than these bright sunny days with falling leaves swirling about is a snowy christmas scene, i think. soon these leaves will be gone for another four months! let’s enjoy it, shall we? happy november!