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The Eve of Tomorrow



tescoxmas
Originally uploaded by youplayawhat.
What is that day again? Oh, right, the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. One of the most significant days in our country's modern history! Walking around in Brno today it was hard to tell that tomorrow marks the fall of Communism in 1989. It was gray and rainy. People were going about their business. And apart from the exodus of students to their homes - not because it's an important day but because they have a long weekend - it wasn't too different from any other. It's just another day when you don't have to work.

The picture was taken on October 28, another important Czech holiday - that day marks the declaration of independece for an independent Czechoslovak state in 1918. They were already putting up Christmas decorations at Tesco! This would be like celebrating the Fourth of July at home without fireworks, or putting up Labor Decorations rather than going to a cookout. (Come to think of it I've not seen many Labor Day decorations ever, and that could be an improvement.)

I don't consider myself to be particularly patriotic. But I am still surprised at the way such holidays are celebrated here. Some people think that it is a lasting effect of the Communist regime. First, Czechs don't like to be told what and when to celebrate. Aparently during Communist holidays buildings were decorated with flags and everyone had to celebrate. Now, the argument goes, people can exercise their freedom to celebrate when, where, and how they want. Second, I suspect that people were more inclined to celebrate holidays with their close family during that period rather than under the watchful eye of the state. Strangely, despite the secularism that supposedly reigns here nowadays, I have noticed more public recognition of religious holidays than I suspect to see tomorrow. The picture tells this story not through the decorations but with the spires of the Brno cathedral looming behind the monumental socialist realist building that is the Brno Tesco.

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