Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy St. Joseph Day

According to a Czech proverb: Pekne-li na Svatého Josefa, bývá dobrý rok...
"If it is nice on St. Joseph's Day, it will usually be a good year."

St. Joseph Day is a big deal around here. We wear red, have a St. Joseph Day parade, St. Joseph Day dance, St. Joseph Day specials and don't forget the St. Joseph Day red beer. We Czechs do St. Joseph Day up in style. But why is St. Joseph Day considered a Czech holiday?

Thinking I should let the picklets know this, since they are Czech after all, I went in search of an answer. I found "Czechs also observe St. Joseph's Day (March 19), a day honoring their national heritage." but can't find why it is honoring the Czech heritage. The most consistent information I could find was that is is a Czech holiday because Josef was the most common name in Czechoslovakia.

  • St. Joseph's Day (Den Svatého Josefa), March 19
    The Czech St. Joseph's Day is a more subdued version of the Irish St. Patrick's Day and is celebrated around the same time in March every year.
    Josef is historically one of the most common Czech first male names. It used to be extremely popular in the past. For example, the village of Josefovice used to have at least one Josef living in every one of its houses. The name is not on the top of name popularity charts anymore, having given way to names like Filip, Tomáš, Adam, Jan or Lukáš. Around 266,000 Czech men are still named Josef though, and that makes it the fourth most used Czech male name in general. It is no wonder that the Josef name day is still celebrated across the nation and mentioned on the news every year.
  • March 19th St. Joseph’s day (Den Svateho Josefa)
    It’s the Czech counterpoint to the Irish March 17th. It’s a day to wear red, the national color for the Czechs. It’s the day to honor the most common name, Joseph; it’s a festive and fun day in the village. In the USA this is mainly celebrated only in Czech enclaves like, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nebraska, etc.
Regardless of why St. Joseph Day is considered the Czech Holiday it has always been a big deal here. We look forward to the festivities and even more this year since Czech Village was wiped out by the 2008 flood.

PS-Don't forget! If you are trying to sell your house, bury a statue of St. Joseph in your yard. According to legend this will bring a speedy sale. Read all about the origins and the rules of the burial here.

1 comment:

Laughing Stars said...

This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing. :-)