Honza

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Czech "Hloupý Honza" in an advertisement of an internet company

Honza is a very common Czech name which may be informally used interchangeably with Jan (English: John). It comes from German Johann(es)Hans → Honza. Possible diminutives are Honzík or Honzíček.

In Czech every Jan can be called Honza and actually virtually no Jan is called Jan by friends - usually Honza or Jenda is used. However in the Czech Republic it is not possible to name a child Honza. The formal given name in the birth certificate must be Jan.

Honza may be translated as Jack.

Honza is often a Czech fairy tale hero, sometimes called Hloupý Honza (Dull Honza), Líný Honza (Lazy Honza) or Chudý Honza (Poor Honza).

In original uses, Líný Honza is the lazy and inept son of village farmers. His parents send him "to the world" to take care of himself and get experience. On his way, he meets seemingly impossible obstacles (often involving dragon) but outsmarts them all and returns home with fame, riches and a princess as his wife.

While sometimes called Hloupý Honza (Dull Honza), he is not really dull and in more modern fairy tales he often loses other negative characteristics too.

Such figures became national personification – often suggested as mirroring the national character of Czechs (the nation had unexpectedly risen up, from low classes, struggling to establish itself as an independent entity). Comparison of "dull" Honza with lot of "common sense" (as opposed to knowledge obtained by studying) with aristocracy portrayed by princes which are unable to overcome obstacles Honza did overcome might also refer to fact that for big part of history (most of) Czech aristocracy was separated from people and often not really Czech (but German and Austrian).

Examples[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Chytrý Honza z Čech (The clever Honza from Bohemia), collection ISBN 978-80-85606-05-8 [1]
  • Český Honza (Czech Honza), collection, ISBN 978-80-242-1411-5

Theatre[edit]

  • How Simple Honza Went Out into the World [2]

Films[edit]

  1. ^ [1] third book annotation from top