You all know that I’m a big promoter of understanding your roots. Whether it’s researching the cultures of the ethnic groups from which we source jewelry designs or understanding the work and symbolism that go into Moroccan wedding blankets that you’ve lavishly decorated your bohemian pad with…

So when I found out I was taking a trip to the land once known as Bohemia…my eyes started to twinkle.

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Did you KNOW that Bohemia was an actual place? Not just a mythical invention of a Camelot-esque utopia where tassels tickle every tree branch and dreamcatchers cast shadows on every square inch of the ground – well what square inch of ground isn’t covered in poufs and embroidered cushions of course…

Ok, so the REAL Bohemia wasn’t really anything like that-and it certainly is a FAR cry from it now.

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Bohemia was located in the western part of what’s now called the Czech Republic. That’s right, central Europe.  Not the Middle East. Not the deserts of the Sahara.  Not amidst the jungles of India or the temples of Asia.

Czech Republic.

Ok, so for my American brain, I admit that’s not quite the connotation associated with the descriptions of Bohemia from Wikipedia: “the Lands of the Bohemian Crown ruled by Bohemian kings.”

BUT

Now that I’ve spent a weekend in Prague, the capital of the CR, I CAN tell you about some of the pure magic that’s goin on over there.  More on that later, but for today, a brief history lesson.

Where did the name Bohemian come from?

Your 30-second answer to that question is this: the Celtic tribal “Boii” people were one of many groups defeated by Romans in Italy during their domination.  The Boii sought a new home on the other side of the northern Alps.  So the Germanic folks there started calling that new settlement “the home of the Boii” – (haimaz (Germanic), haims (Gothic), heim (German), home (English)….. “Boiohaemum”

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You can see in green in Italy the Boii were all, “Ciao! We like it here!” with a heavy Celtic accent…and then Caesar’s all, “NOPE – This is mine now. Bye, Felicia.”

 

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According to Dan Brenheur, this is what the Boii “probably” looked like.

And according to the video game Rome II, this is what that scene looked like… I like my description better.

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So the Boii were like, “F-this, let’s see if the grass is greener on the other side of these here mountains.”  And it was for a while, with their kings and the protection of the Holy Roman Empire and new Austrian and Bavarian friends. Makin’ cheese and eating sausage and embroidering and making lace. Yup.

 

But later some Slavic folks moved in and were like, “Let’s all play together, except you have to play  more like us”. Fast forward like 800 years – throw in an Austro-Hungarian War and a little thing called WWI…and bye bye “Bohemia” –  the Czech nation eventually took over, while some of the “bohemians” moved on to other parts of the world.

 

Nowadays, “bohemianism, ” according to Wikipedia, “is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may or may not be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.”

 

As a matter of fact, I’m just gonna to ahead and copy the whole shabang from Wikipedia here…because yeah… #realworktodo

{The use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the nineteenth century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities

Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, and—in some cases—voluntary poverty. A more economically privileged, wealthy, or even aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as haute bohème[2] (literally “high Bohemia”).[3]

Haute Bohème?!  Oh I like that. 

 

{The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early nineteenth century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class, Romani neighborhoods. Bohémienwas a common term for the Romani people of France, who were mistakenly thought to have reached France in the 15th century via Bohemia }

 

Ok so there is your Boho 101 Guide to Being a Boho Babe: Know Your Roots, Girl.    But that title didn’t fit into the subject line.

Next I’ll share some photos and tidbits about Bohemia today – Prague – and the coolest, most bohemian shop on the planet.   Plus, the answer to the question “What the hell does Bohemian Rhapsody have to do with Bohemia?!”

*No I’m not a historian. No this isn’t sponsored. No there are no affiliated links. Yes there are probably typos and historical generalizations that will offend some, if not all of the Celtic, Roman, Boii, Czech, Slavian, Bavarian, Austrian, Sub-Saharan…shit ok just like everyone ok? Don’t yell at me.  

Kindly leave your laughter, gripes, and questions in the comments!