Today is a National Holiday – Czech Statehood Day and the Feast of Saint Wenceslas (Svatý Václav). Most businesses and stores are closed as well as government offices. Wenceslas is the Patron Saint of Bohemia, the Spiritual Protector of the Czech Lands. He was actually “just” the Duke of Bohemia from 921 to 935, but he was elevated to Sainthood and posthumously declared King by the Catholic Church after his assassination in 935. Only 24, Wenceslas was murdered by his younger brother, aptly named, Boleslaus, the Cruel.
Although he lived such a short life, Wenceslas managed to gain a reputation as a heroic and virtuous leader, and he became revered not only in the Czech Republic but in England. He became symbolic of what a good and kind king can, and should be. If youŕe old enough, you may remember singing about him at Christmas time…..
Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen. Where the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even…….
An ancient legend, (not unlike that of King Arthur), says that in the country’s darkest hour, in order to save it from ruin, this statue will come to life and lead an army of knights who now sleep beneath the Czech mountain, Blaník. As Protector of the Czech Lands, it is only fitting that it was in Wenceslas Square that the Czech people gathered and protested, and eventually drove out the occupying Soviets in 1989.
Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen. Where the snow lay roundabout, deep and crisp and even. Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel. “Hither page, and stand by me. If thou know’st be telling. Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?” “Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain. Up against the forest fence, by St. Agnes’ fountain. That’s about all I can remember at the moment. The rest will come to me. It is one of my all time favorite Christmas Carols and stories. Thanks. Hope all is well with you. Linda D.
On Tue, Sep 28, 2021 at 3:04 PM The Bohemian Freethinker wrote:
> thebohemianfreethinker posted: ” Today is a National Holiday – Czech > Statehood Day and the Feast of Saint Wenceslas (Svatý Václav). Most > businesses and stores are closed as well as government offices. Wenceslas > is the Patron Saint of Bohemia, the Spiritual Protector of the Czech Lan” >
Great job Linda! That is about all I can recite for memory too and yes I loved that song as a child too. Of course, no young person probably knows it now! It is a great story and legend. I am well, hope you are. Thanks for following!