Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Auspices and inauguration. These words nowadays have quite different meanings, but in Ancient Roman times they were closely linked. An event which is held "under the auspices" of an organization
expresses the Slovak idea of "pod gesciou" (meaning management) or "pod záštitou" (which is otherwise literally "under the aegis", which means shield, or protection). Inauguration means the
ceremonial beginning of a period of office (a new government), or somebody in an official position (a new president, or member of a Hall of Fame). The Ancient Romans were quite superstitious
(poverčiví), and they believed that the flight, singing or feeding patterns of birds (Latin avis) could give them good or bad indications of the future. Good indications meant protection or
favorable conditions for people or a period of time.
Time for a reminder, I think. November is a month full of big events in Slovakia, the USA and the UK. October 31 is Halloween (big in USA, small in UK, growing in SR), the evening before All
Hallows Day, which is the old name for All Saints Day (big in SR, small in USA and UK). Next day is All Souls Day (gigantic in SR, small in USA and UK) on November 2. Then there is Guy Fawke's
Night (Nov. 5 - massive in England, nothing in USA or SR), commemorating the foiling of the Catholic Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament in London in 1605. Some people still remember VOSR (Lenin's
Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917) on November 7. And then there's the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 on November 17 (fading into history in SR, nothing in USA or
UK), and finally Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thurday in November, the 28th this year (crucial in USA, nothing in UK or SR).