22. 10. 2008 10:20

The Czech national anthem

New recordings of the Czech national anthem were presented at a ceremony in the Pantheon of the National Museum in Prague on Sunday, the 28th of September, celebrated as a Day of Czech Statehood.

Separate page devoted to the Day of Czech Statehood, the Czech national anthem and the publication "Where Is My Home?"

National anthems are symbols which have the power to unite people, to invigorate and mobilize them for action, to remind them of their roots and descent. A national anthem is a song which is both panegyric and reverential.

The Czech national anthem It is always sung with pathos - whether by athletes on the winners’ dais, politicians on official occasions, or, at extraordinary historic moments, by the crowds – such as those that gathered on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on the 21st of November of 1989, with the singer Marta Kubišová, persecuted by the dismantled communist regime, leading the chorus.

Describing what they feel when hearing or singing the national anthem, people speak of a peculiar excitement, restlessness – shivers, even ... Like the medal-winning javelin-thrower Barbora Špotáková at the Peking Olympic Games: “I will probably burst into tears and weep buckets when they start playing our national anthem ... but I look forward to it.” She controlled herself in the end, but only just about. Another famous Czech javelin-thrower Dana Zátopková, 1952 Olympic Games winner, commented: “I told her, they will play it for you specially, so enjoy the precious moment. I experienced it, too, and I know what’s going on in the mind of a person standing on the winning dais. Your heart is gripped by joy and all sorts of other emotions. I shared those moments with her and I understood how she felt.”

President Václav Klaus also hears the Czech national anthem on many occasions: “I hear it quite often – played now by a Kazakh orchestra, now by an Indian, Qatar or Israeli one. Their renderings are quite original. Recently I was in the United States, near Boston, at the Brandeis University, and when I was entering the room to deliver my lecture, a jazz trio played our national anthem – an absolutely unconventional group of American jazzmen. By the way, the national anthem is a very frequent topic of my discussions with my counterparts. I often say: ‘It is interesting, how slow, solemn and quiet our anthem is, comparing with yours, which is youthful, striking and full of spirit’. I approach the national anthem with great humbleness. It is a serious thing.” In answer to the question whether it makes tears well in his eyes, he adds: “Perhaps it does not actually move me to tears, but I definitely take it seriously, yes.”

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