October Is Czech Heritage Month

Members of the Fayette County Chapter of the Czech Heritage Society of Texas and representatives from the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center together with Judge Ed Janecka signed a proclamation declaring October as “Czech Heritage Month” in Fayette County. 

The Texas Legislature has declared the month of October as “Czech Heritage Month” in Texas. During this month, many Czech festivals are held throughout the state of Texas. Texans of Czech ancestry take great pride in sharing with the rest of the state their contributions in the areas of art, music, literature, food, folklore and many other fine customs that are a part of Texas’ rich, diverse culture.

The Czech Heritage Society of Texas was founded on October 30, 1982 in Taylor, Texas and currently has fifteen (15) chapters. The mission of the Czech Heritage Society is to preserve and promote the genealogy, history, heritage, culture and language of the Czechs and Czech Moravians of Texas. The Fayette County Chapter was organized in 1987. CHS has also published numerous genealogical resource books which have been placed in numerous libraries and has been involved in cultural and genealogical exchange programs between Texas Czechs and the people of the Czech Republic. For more information and membership applications, visit the website at www.czechheritage.org. Membership is open to anyone who is interested in and supportive of the goals of the Czech Heritage Society of Texas. 

The Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center, Inc. (TCHCC) was incorporated on March 24, 1997. The location for this non-profit corporation was finalized with the City of La Grange in November of 1997. Statewide efforts by Czech founded organizations to raise money to develop a Center that would preserve and promote the history, heritage and culture of the people of Czech ethnicity began as early as December of 1995. The Center has evolved from a single desk housed in the La Grange Area Chamber of Commerce Office, to a one-room office in a professional building in La Grange, to an on-site location in the meticulously restored early Texas-Czech Farmhouse, the Kalich House, to the multi-functional facility that stands today and houses a library, museum, archives and re-created immigrant village. Fayette County, which is known as the “Cradle of Czech Immigration,” was selected as the site for the Center because of its significance in the history of Texas Czechs. It has the largest Czech population per capita and the most Czech communities of any county in the state. 

The TCHCC’s success depends upon annual sustaining gifts and memorial contributions from individuals, families, businesses and organizations that are interested in preserving the rich heritage of Texas Czechs for future generations. For information on how to become a member and be involved, visit the website at www.czechtexas.org or call 979-968-9399. 

Some ideas to celebrate your Czech-ness this month: play tarok; bake something—even if it doesn’t turn out just right. Among the many things Czechs are known for, kolače (kolaches) and klobasniky are two of the most popular pastries – and they are definitely different from each other. Kolače is made with fruit fillings and came to the United States with Czech immigrants. Klobasniky were first made by Czechs that settled in Texas and are similar in style to pigs in a blanket, but are wrapped in kolače dough. Usually they are filled only with sausage, but can now be found with ham, eggs, cheese and sauerkraut alongside or instead of sausage. 

Other things to do this month: visit the Czech related museums in La Grange, Schulenburg, Temple, Houston, Victoria, San Antonio; go to a polka dance; patronize your local meat market or bakery; attend the Heritage Festival & Muziky on Oct 20-21 at the TCHCC!; tune in to a polka radio show; join your local Czech club or genealogy society; recall those Czech phrases you learned as a kid – speaking a few words, a prayer in Czech will help keep the culture alive.

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