It tears at me to write this. Though it’s something I have thought about a lot, there is something more final and real about putting the thoughts into words on a page. So here it is: I wish I was living in Minnesota.
Don’t get me wrong, at any given time that sentence has said: I wish I was living in the Czech Republic. The destination changes from Texas to Oklahoma, Illinois to DC, anywhere there is a thriving Czech community.
Nebraska is supposed to house the Czech capital of the US. It sounds like such a glorious title, but it can be just that, a title. Wilber is a place filled with people of Czech decent. But, there is the problem, we are the descendants. Many of the people who live here have not been to the homeland, and of those that have, many have only seen it as a tourist.
Nebraska has many wonderful Czech traditions, but because our families have been here so long, those traditions have become very Americanized. We are a community that is split up, modern, and idealistic. We want the Nebraska Czech traditions to continue, but they have become stagnant and are not very welcoming to the new generations who will become the keepers of the heritage.
That is why I said I wish I was living in Minnesota. Just a few days ago the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic came to the US, to Minnesota. The people who live in and around Montgomery, MN participate in many Czech traditions including Masopust, Sváty Mikulaš, and traditional dances and music. I just watched a video on Facebook of the male dancers doing a traditional number called the Furiant and it reminded me of the hody or festivals I had been to in the Czech Republic
The video made me happy to see the traditions, but also sad and angry that we don’t have that here. I want to participate in the dance groups and attend the special events. These experiences give more options to my generation and those that will follow. Unfortunately, I cannot do it all alone, I need help.
If you agree, let me know! Maybe we can work together to make that our heritage will continue to live on.