## Saturday, September 09, 2017

### Czech calendar forecasts: Irma's big day is Sunday

TRF folks are praying and motling for Tony and Charles Wilson in Florida

Cuba is just experiencing Irma as a Category 5 hurricane, winds over 170 kilometers per hour are common. Tourists who came there for the Sun weren't given what was promised.

Everyone who is close enough to Florida should watch the nice animations at Ventusky.com and Earth.Nullschool.Net and maybe the National Hurricane Center.

But look at this. It's the Czech calendar for September 2017. Just to be sure, the weeks start on Mondays and end on Sundays. The words written under each day are first names. The people with that name have their name day on that day – which is almost as good for them as the birthday. They get gifts.

This tradition is so normal that we can't even understand that some other nations don't have it. In Central Europe, the arrangement of name days extends the Roman Catholic Saints. For example, March 19th is the St Joseph feast day celebrated by the Roman Catholics (because of Jesus' step [?] father). Because "Josef" is still one of the very widespread names, especially among the older Czechs – it's diminishing in favor of more "modern" names such as David, Matyáš etc. – shops with gifts are often overwhelmed on March 19th, during the name day of every Josef.

However, almost every day among the 365-366 days in the calendar has some first name associated with it, as a name day, even though most of these people aren't saints. For example, July 16th is the Luboš day. It's not celebrated by most of the Roman Catholics yet but give it some time.

In the September calendar (the word "září" means "September", or "it is radiating/glowing", and this ambiguity isn't quite a coincidence because of the Sun, I guess), all the days are name days.

There is one exception, however – September 28th. It's the name day of Václav and Václava [a much less widespread female derivative of Václav]. Václav is another important male name – the first name of Havel and Klaus, for example, the first two presidents of Czechia after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. On top of the name day, however, September 28th is also the Czech Statehood Day. That means an anniversary of the murder of St Wenceslaus [=Václav], the Czech Catholic patron (whom you know from the "Good King Wenceslaus" carol) by his cruel brother Boleslaus and his thugs on September 28th either in 929 AD or 935 AD – well, we're not quite sure about the year. ;-) Just to be sure, this September 28th holiday is generally considered less important these days than October 28th, the anniversary of the 1918 birth of Czechoslovakia. October 28th is our real national holiday – our Slovak brothers aren't mature enough to celebrate it in this way as well.

So "den české státnosti" means "Czech Statehood Day" but all the remaining words in the calendar above are first names. Moreover, all the names that end with -a or -e (-a is more frequent in this case) are female first names. And all the names ending with other letters (all of which turn out to be consonants in this case, and most others) are male names. Czech seems to have some simple patterns, right?

As a news outlet in Miami, Local 10 has noticed, Irma has the name day in Czechia on Sunday. Congratulations to all Irmas tomorrow and I wish them good luck, except to the Caribbean Irma – I don't wish her any successes tomorrow! ;-)

Ms Irma Thomas: It's raining so hard, look like it's going to rain all night. And this is the time, I'd love to be holding you tight... (Hurricane Irma sings this song to your house.)

Maybe you want to know what this name means and where it came from. Irma got evolved from German. Old German had lots of names starting Irm-, namely Irmgarda, Irmhilda, Irmtraud, and others. What does it mean? It means "a strong, solid, resilient" woman. Oops. It doesn't sound too good for Florida...

In Czechia, 1,395 women are called Irma and it's the 206th most frequent first name. In other words, it's very rare but not "completely impossible" to find. A Czech poet is Ms Irma Geisslová. Irma Baltuttis was a German singer (trained by the Third Reich but active in the DDR) and Irma Thomas is an American singer from... New Orleans. This black lady was born as Irma Lee – apparently a relative of Robert Lee, she should be ostracized as a slave owner. Her birth place in New Orleans along with Irma's being a strong lady indicate that Florida should prepare for a big day on Sunday.

Also, I think that Americans like celebrations so they should introduce name days. I can write down the calendar for you if you need some help. Americans seem to live in the Middle Ages from many viewpoints. For example, the Czech beer trains are only arriving to the U.S. and China today. How could you live without elementary things such as beer trains? ;-)