Czech Americans - Wikipedia
So, the Czech people havnt followed the USA in the "service arena". .. Yep, yet to meet a bad CZ taxi driver, they are out there, you just have to find em. Furthering close and strong ties with the Czech Republic and its people Mr. Ryan came to Prague and the invitation of the new U.S. Ambassador Steven King . Find Meetups about Czech Language and meet people in your local community who share your Czech/Slovak Speakers & Students | New York, USA.
One of his greatest achievements was his celebrated map of Maryland and Virginia commissioned by Lord Baltimore on which he began working in earnest after removing to the English Province of Maryland.
Lord Baltimore was so pleased with the map that he rewarded Herman with a large estate, named by Herman " Bohemia Manor ", and the hereditary title Lord.
There was another Bohemian living in New Amsterdam at that time, Frederick Philipse —who became equally famous. He was a successful merchant who, eventually, became the wealthiest person in the entire Dutch Province. Philipse was originally from Bohemiafrom an aristocratic Protestant family who had to leave their native land to save their lives, after the Thirty Years' War.
The first significant wave of Czech colonists was of the Moravian Brethren who began arriving on the American shores in the first half of the 18th century.
They were true heirs of the ancient "Unitas fratrum bohemicorum" - Unity of the Brethrenwho found a temporary refuge in Herrnhut "Ochranov," in Czech language in Lusatia under the patronage of Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf — Because of the worsening political and religious situation in Saxonythe Moravian Brethren, as they began calling themselves, decided to emigrate to North America. Chicago's Czech-born mayor Anton Cermak This group started coming inwhen they first settled in Savannah, Georgiaand then in Pennsylvaniafrom which they spread to other states after the American Revolutionespecially Ohio.
Moravians made great contributions to the growth and development of the US. Cultural contributions of Moravian Brethren from the Czech lands were distinctly notable in the realm of music. The trumpets and horns used by the Moravians in Georgia Georgia are the first evidence of Moravian instrumental music in America.
Inat the time of the Declaration of Independencemore than two thousand Moravian Brethren lived in the colonies.
Chicago, tied to the West by rail and more readily accessible to the immigrants, became the most populous Czech settlement. Byother cities with Czech concentrations included St.
Louis, Cleveland, New York, and Milwaukee. At the turn of the century, Czech immigrants were more likely to make the journey to the United States with their families.
This marks a contrast with the immigration patterns of other ethnic groups, such as the Germans, English, Poles, and Slovaks, who tended to come over individually, as exhibited by the high ratio of male to female immigrants in the U. Moreover, it was not uncommon in large families for the head of the household to make more than one trip to the United States, bringing along one or more children each time.
In addition, many of those who immigrated in the late nineteenth century were of Moravian ancestry. One important characteristic of this group was their staunch adherence to the Catholic faith at a time when membership among Czech Americans was declining and a distinct anti-Catholic spirit prevailed. In there wereAmerican-born Czechs as opposed toCzechs who had been born in Europe.
The number of Czechs entering the country was further reduced by the temporary Emergency Quota Act, legislated by Congress inand the National Origins Act of Settlement patterns were also changing.
Perhaps as a reflection of the growing trend toward urbanization in the United States, two-thirds of Czech Americans now lived in urban areas. The next major immigration to the United States occurred during the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, when approximately 20, fled to escape Nazi persecution. About one-quarter of these were professionals, including scholars and artists. Between and27, Czechs immigrated to the United States. With the Communist takeover ina large number of refugees, many of them students, teachers, journalists, and professional people, began pouring into the United States.
Financial support for these refugees was provided by the American Fund for Czechoslovakia, These Czech American women have just completed their registration at Ellis Island. Subsequent immigration of refugees was supported by the Displaced Persons Act ofwhich permitted the admission of refugees of Communist countries.
Many of them were middle-aged, skilled, and educated; consequently, they had little difficulty finding employment. Although they made significant contributions to American society, this recent community of immigrants has been characterized more by its capacity for assimilation than by its ability to stimulate a resurgence in Czech American culture.
According to the U. Census, 1, Americans reported themselves to be of Czech ancestry, with 52 percent residing in the Midwest, 22 percent in the South, 16 percent in the West, and ten percent in the Northeast.
The number of foreign-born Czechs in the United States has been steadily decreasing, and with the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, Czech immigration to the United States has significantly slowed. In Texas, the first Czech settlement was established at Catspring in Other settlements followed in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.
The first Czech settlers to arrive in Chicago in settled in what is today the Lincoln Park area, assisting in local building by cutting trees and loading lumber.
Minnesota Territory was populated by the first Czechs inwhile the Dakota Territory saw its first Czech settlements in Czech Americans also lent names to several U. Acculturation and Assimilation The Czechs were uniquely suited to assimilate into American society. Although they lacked direct experience with democratic institutions, the first generation—many of whom left their homeland to escape the oppression of the Austrian Habsburgs— nevertheless brought with them a love of liberty and social equality.
A relatively large proportion of nineteenth-century Czech immigrants were literate, a result of the educational policies of the Austrian regime that made education compulsory to age fourteen throughout Bohemia and Moravia. On arrival, many Czechs Americanized their last names. Some last names were translated into English e. The years between and marked a turning point for the Czech community in two important ways. First, as a result of World War I, the Czech community became less isolated.
A growing trend toward Americanization could be seen in the second and third generations, which were already moving out of the Czech communities and marrying into families with ethnic backgrounds that differed from their own. Second, perhaps partially in response to this trend, the Czech American community was becoming more protective of its traditions, emphasizing the study of Czech language and culture.
As relatively recent arrivals in the United States, the Czechs were forced to deal with prejudice as they established their homes in the midst of other immigrant communities.
The self-sufficiency of Czech urban settlements, with their assemblage of Czech-owned banks, theaters, amusement halls, and shops, may have contributed to a perception of Czechs as "clannish. Some efforts at community expansion were met with strong prejudice, as when a Czech real-estate developer attempting to purchase land in a Chicago suburb returned home to find a burning cross on his land.
To many early twentieth-century observers, the Czechs were a relatively "successful" immigrant community. They were perceived as law-abiding and family- and community-oriented, and because they were dedicated to becoming fully Americanized, their assimilation into American culture was relatively smooth and complete.
Some traditions celebrated in the early days of immigration were centered around the church. At box-supper church fund raisers, women baked their fanciest dinners and put them into boxes decorated with crepe paper, hearts, and ribbons to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Customs frequently were derived from old pagan traditions.
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On Palm Sunday, children created an effigy of Smrt "death"a lifesize straw doll that might be dressed in rags and have a necklace of eggs. The straw woman, who symbolized the end of winter, was then cast into a river as the children sang a welcome to the beginning of spring. On New Year's Eve, young men would gather in circles and fire their rifles into the air three times, a practice known as "shooting the witches.
A dream about a body of water could also mean that a death would occur. Pebbles were placed inside eggshell rattles made for children, to drive away evil spirits. A garnet that dimmed while worn on the body was thought be a sign of melancholy.
Common proverbs among Czech Americans in the United States include: Father and mother have taught us how to speak, and the world how to keep quiet; Too much wisdom does not produce courage; A pocketful of right needs a pocketful of gold; The poor are heaven's messengers; He who has daughters has a family, and he who has sons has strangers; If there were no children, there would be no tears; All the rivers do what they can for the sea; Better a lie that heals than a truth that wounds; As long as the language lives, the nation is not dead.
Potatoes, mushrooms, and cabbage are the staples of Czech cooking. To make a potato strudel, flour was added to mashed potatoes to form a stiff dough, which was then sprinkled with cinnamon and melted goat's milk butter and baked in the oven. Mushrooms picked during autumn field trips were brought home in bushels and set out in neat rows to dry.
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They were then turned into a sour mushroom soup which contained sauerkraut juice and fried onions. Sauerkraut, made from boiled cabbage, could also be mixed with pork and rice to make a cabbage roll. Women's billowy skirts, multicolored or solid, were topped by a gold-trimmed black vests and blouses with full puffed sleeves that might be trimmed in gold or lace and embroidered with a floral geometric motif.
Women's bright caps were worn flat on the head and had flaps on either side. Men's trousers were of a solid hue but often were decorated according to individual taste. Men wore a black vest over a full embroidered shirt. Bridal costumes were particularly ornate.
The bride wore a crown covered with rosemary wreaths made by the groom; this crown might also be strewn with long, flowing ribbons. Her white vest was covered with light sea beads or with red, yellow, or green streamers. The groom wore a close-fitting blue or red vest and a plumed hat. The polka originated in Prague in Derived from the Czech word for "half," it is danced with a half step to music written in two-quarter time, with the accent on the first three eighth notes.
Another These Czech emigrants are waving from the S. They later joined relatives in Ohio. Czech melodies, strongly Western European in character, were usually composed to accompany dances. The koledy —ritual carols that were sung at Christmas, the New Year, and Easter—date back to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A typical rustic band included a clarinet, violins, and the dudy, a shepherd's bagpipe that had a goat's head on top.
Another traditional Czech instrument played in the United States is the tamburash, a stringed instrument similar to the lute. Before dining, it was customary to eat consecrated bread dipped in honey; extra place settings were made for deceased members of the family, who were said to be present in spirit.
Christmas Day, December 25, was celebrated at church in an extended ceremony where the women and girls stood in front of the altar for the duration of the service.
New Year's Eve sometimes called St. Sylvester's was celebrated in the streets, with revelers spending all night in song and dance.
Also commemorated were Epiphany January 6to honor the journey of the Magi; St. Valentine's Day; and Whit-sunday, in remembrance of the Ascension. On Sprinkling Day, the first Monday of Easter week, boys would go through the town spraying the girls with little homemade "spritzers" or, if lucky enough to abduct one of them, would throw her into the river; the girl was required to show her gratitude for this treatment by baking the boy a homecooked meal.
Czechs also observe St. Joseph's Day March 19a day honoring their national heritage. Mother's Day was more than just the promotional holiday it is today. It was celebrated either at church, if it fell on a Sunday, or at a separate festival, and was marked by the wearing of red and white carnations grown especially for the occasion, a red carnation signifying that one's mother was living, the white carnation that she was no longer living.
After the mass, the congregation would follow the priest through the fields, reciting the Litany of the Saints and praying for a good harvest.
A wedding ring tied around the neck of a child was believed to cure fever. Poultices made of bread and milk were used to heal cuts. Concern about scoliosis prompted Czech women to ensure that their babies had adequate calcium, and at one time it was mandatory for newborns to have their hips examined to see whether they would develop the disease.
Czech Americans have always been very diet conscious. When fruits were in scarce supply in the winter, they served rosehip tea as well as sauerkraut, a rich source of vitamin C. Czech Americans believe that there is a strong connection between mental and physical wellbeing.
Their commitment to physical fitness led to the establishment of the Sokol Falcon gymnastic organization, which strives to develop a person "perfect physically, spiritually, and morally, of a firm and noble character, whose word is irrevocable, like the law.
The present orthographic system was introduced in the fourteenth century by the religious reformer Jan Hus, who instituted a system of diacritical markings to eliminate consonant clusters. Czech is a phonetic language; every sound is pronounced exactly as it is written, with the accent always on the first syllable. Because of the differences between Czech and English—Czech is a Slavic language, while English is Germanic—the acquisition of English as a second language presents a challenge to Czech Americans.
Other polite expressions are Jak se mate? Family and Community Dynamics The lifestyle of nineteenth-century Czech immigrants was determined by the region and community in which they settled. Those who came to New York in the s lived in sparsely furnished rented quarters, and it was not uncommon to find two families sharing the same small apartment. Immigrants who came to Chicago in the early s had trouble settling permanently there: While the men loaded lumber to assist in the new building in the area, the women and children did the chores and went to the slaughterhouse where they could obtain the poorer cuts of meat, often purchased on a cooperative plan.
Hardships also were endured in rural communities. Dwellings in Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa were simple sod houses—no more than underground burrows. Immigrants to rural Wisconsin built log cabins and lived off meager provisions, in some cases subsisting on cornbread and on the "coffee" that they made from ground roasted corn.
The accumulation of wealth by first-generation families made it easier for the second generation to purchase property. They began by building wood-frame homes and eventually saved enough money to build with brick. In the early twentieth century, an estimated 64 percent of Czech families living in Chicago owned their own dwellings, a high proportion for an immigrant community at that time.
Children were sent to college and frequently went on to pursue professional vocations, such as law, education, or medicine. Historically, the Czechs have been markedly active in community groups that have assisted immigrants and have promoted greater familiarity with Czech culture.
In Czechs in Ripon, Wisconsin, formed the Czech-Slavonic Benevolent Society, the oldest continuous benevolent society in the United States, to provide insurance and aid to immigrants, as well as social services to the young, the elderly, and the poor. The Sokol Falcon gymnastic organization, established in St.
Louis incontinues to attract people of all ethnic backgrounds to its sponsored gymnastic meets. Czech American women have played an exceptionally important role in community life, forming a number of active social and political organizations.
By approximately one-third of the membership of Czech American benevolent societies was consisted of women. Although Czech women were prominent in their communities, the women's suffrage movement in the early twentieth century was viewed with either polite tolerance or outright scorn and had difficulty winning acceptance among Czech Americans.
Food and drink were prepared days in advance. On the day of the wedding, the couple, their parents, and the bridal party would gather for the wedding breakfast. The groom was not allowed to see the bride in her gown until 2: After the wedding ceremony, as the guests proceeded to the feast, friends of the couple would stand along the path and tie a ribbon from one side to the other, requesting a donation.
This gift was later presented to the couple or was sometimes given to the musicians as a gratuity. At the wedding feast, the bridesmaids would present the guests with sprigs of rosemary, a symbol of fidelity, and a collection would be taken up for the birth of the first child.
BAPTISMS Preparation for the birth of a child traditionally began even before the wedding, when the bride-tobe would knit a set of white bonnets, boots, jackets, and shawls—sometimes enough for a family of six children—which were then carefully arranged in neat, ribbon-tied bundles and set aside until the arrival of the firstborn.
Baptisms occurred a week after birth. They were followed by baptismal parties, where the godfather recited a customary toast and the godmother presented the gifts. Godparents adhered to their pledge to safeguard the child in the event of the parents' death. Six weeks after the baptism, the baby was taken to the church, where the religious officiant joined with the parents at the altar to say prayers of thanksgiving for the baby's arrival and health.
The casket might be brought to the home by the undertaker, if the village were prosperous enough to have one; in some villages, the caskets were kept in the general store.
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Family members would take turns sitting by the side of the deceased, who was waked in the home for a period of days. On the day of the funeral, the religious officiant came to pray over the coffin with the family. In some rural areas, as in central Texas, businesses might be closed one hour before a funeral. The town bells summoned the townsfolk to the service.