Monday, January 04, 2010

New Year's in Prague

I've never cared much for New Year's celebrations, but the fireworks in Prague were pretty spectacular.

On New Year's Eve we had a few people over for games, and at quarter till midnight, we went out to the park for the fireworks. Our park has a view of Prague - on a clear day you can see Museum, Petrin Hill, the castle, and peaks of Old Town. We thought we'd see the fireworks going off in the distance, but there was fog and smoke hung in the air, blocking most of our view. The show we saw was taking off from our own hill. Pražany* buy big fireworks and let them off all over the place - big colorful fireworks that only firemen do in the US. It was fantastic! Some people let off these beautiful, enchanting lanterns. I had never seen anything like it before. They are like big paper balloons with a flame in the middle, so they fill up with hot air and float away. The whole crowd got into it, swelling with "ooooo" when it drifted toward a tree, and cheering for it when it safely made it up into the sky. And then they looked like little fireflies, getting smaller and smaller into the sky.

*Back in the day, we used to joke about calling my brother-in-law Praguish, as if we had no idea of the correct term for his nationality. But then in Czech class a few weeks ago I learned there is a word for someone from Prague: Pražan.

Wow! Isn't that fabulous? That is NOT what we saw: we wouldn't have been quite so close, and certainly it was not so clear. Maybe next year...

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