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Merry Christmas

Here is a nice 40-minute-long animated video.



The music is The Czech Christmas Mass (people are much more likely to call it "Hey Master" rather than by the author's original name "Missa solemnis Festis Nativitatis D. J. Ch. accommodata in linguam bohemicum musicam") composed by Jakub Jan Ryba [James John Fish] in 1796. I think that for a high school teacher who was born in the small town of Přeštice, 10 miles South of Pilsen (that's where your humble correspondent did his communist potato picking brigades), this composition is rather impressive. You don't need to know Czech much. The plot is simple: the Messiah is born in Bethlehem – which seems to be somewhere in Southwestern Bohemia. (It was a different Bethlemen than Bethlehem, NY where they banned public "Merry Christmas" signs.) Everything seems cooler on that day and the great news is spreading to all classes of the society.

Everything was great, as Ryba described it. Well, except that Ryba stabbed himself in 1815, near Rožmitál Under Třemšín, due to the shortage of money and hostility from his superiors.

Back in 1796, the Catholic belief in the Czech lands may have peaked. Recall that we began as Orthodox Christians thanks to the Greek missionaries in 863; we were gradually converted to the Catholic belief by the Roman-German influence; in the early 15th century, John Huss turned us into the first protestants of a sort. But after the humiliating 1620 loss at the Battle of the White Mountain (especially bad for our independent aristocratic elite), the 150-year-long recatholicization began and it was rather assertive. Roughly from the mid 19th century, when the industrialization exploded, Czechs were already on their way to become the world's flagship atheists. If the latest 2 centuries were removed from the history, this blog would have a slightly ;-) higher chance to spread Catholic views today.

Also, the animations have used the classic images of the Czech winter countryside by Josef Lada (1887-1957). The audio recording of the mass is a well-known one from 1966. I wonder whether the professionals would be able and willing to record the same thing today.

Merry \(\dagger\)mas!

And Happy Hanukkah which is as important as Christmas. Christmas is the birth of the Creator's only son; Hanukkah is the anniversary of the second completion of the necessary paperwork by a second temple in Jerusalem during a revolt against the Greeks. ;-)

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