Masopust or Fašank? Either Way, It’s Czech Mardi Gras

A GIANT MASK! Photo taken in Pilsen.

img_8035

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is my current dream trip, but in the meantime, Czechia’s Masopust is a fun alternative! This version of the pre-Lent celebration usually takes place in villages, with central participants parading through the streets in costume with a small group of violinists and a bassist, knocking on doors and offering shots or wine to the villagers, who give them smoked meat in return – as it’s the last chance to stuff your face with it. (After a while, Czech celebrations all start to sound the same…)

Masopust is a Czech word that means “meat fast.” I always laugh about it though, because “fast” in CZ means something totally different from the typical American (and in particular, Jewish) conception of not eating or drinking anything – it just means you don’t eat meat, for a day or even half a day. (That’s a long enough time for Czechs.) Fašank is from German and only some villages use it- I have sometimes asked people if they will celebrate Fašank and they didn’t know what I meant.

From my first Masopust in CZ

Falling in late February or early March, Masopust is coincidentally at a similar time as the Jewish costume party holiday Purim (which will be March 12 in 2017). Purim, however, is based on the story in the Book of Esther. The link will bring you to Prague Chabad’s celebration.

In 2015, I went with my friend Trishia who was also a Fulbrighter, and we met a Lego man!!!

img_2687

That was probably one of the most awesome experiences of my life and it cemented Fašank in Česká (a village in South Moravia, near Brno) as one of my favorite events of the year. Some people really do go all out, and often with homemade costumes. For example…

In 2016, Ondra and I rocked a steampunk theme. Exactly one person recognized us.


Heels or no heels, I come nowhere near his height.

My goggles were impressively steampunk, though you can’t see them well in the photo. Now I use them to protect my eyes whenever I cut onions, to feel cool.

And that year I had the pleasure of meeting a Czech cactus, which I didn’t know existed in Central Europe 😉

I relish the opportunity to show off my impressively random collection of masks. And I really enjoy the dancing (mostly valčík and polka) and table of many different kinds of meat and špekáčky (bacon fat), as well as koblížky (small fried doughnuts).

On “Fat Tuesday,” there was a parade at school where students dressed up as an assortment of characters like jesters, hockey players, assassins, and animals… and one teacher and some students even played violin:


Meanwhile, I dressed as a babka, a Czech grandma character who carries a basket…with another grandma? Remember, just don’t ask questions.

With my colleague Blanka

And over the weekend, I attended an event called 100% Masopust at Bajkazyl in Brno, a very different take on the celebration – it was a vegan Masopust!

photo-11
Via Prague off the map

It’s also sorta hipster-punk. They served me my beer in a canning jar 😀 (at least it wasn’t a Mason).

You paid 75 Czech crowns at the entrance and got a 5-course meal of vegan Masopust classics:

This was tlačenka, also known as “head cheese” or “brawn”:

It’s a speciality of the Czech “pig killing,” (warning, graphic photos in the link) and embeds pieces of pork in gelatin, topped with onions. It typically looks like this…

tlacenka-s-cibuli
via Trip Advisor

You can see that although the vegan version didn’t stay together well, it was rather tasty, using tofu and tempeh instead of pork.

My favorite meal was Prejt, which, instead of blood sausage, was sort of like a loaf of lentils and sunflower seeds. Not bad. Not bad at all.

How did you spend your pre-Lenten celebration?

Categories Brno, Czech CustomsTags , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Poetry Breakfast

Beginning March 20th, 2016 Poetry Breakfast will once again serve a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry related creative non-fiction such as letters to and from poets, essays on poetry, and anything else that might feed a poet and poetry lover’s soul.

Ben's Bitter Blog

"We make bitter better."

Public Room

Mengasah Rasa dan Bahasa

GOOD BLACK NEWS

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World

Expat Panda

A south african teacher's adventures in & out of the global classroom

An Irish Explorer

From China And Beyond: Adventure Of A TEFL Teacher

Unicorn on the road

Let's explore the world together

Sara Dorner

Rockford, Sleep Deprivation, Children and Donuts...

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close