It’s January 1, time to see if the new year will live up to the expectations of everyone who confronted the realities of last year.

January 1 is also a time when many laws and other big changes take effect.

In 1993, that included the start of two new countries.

Czechoslovakia had done away with its Communist regime in the late 1980s; the bloodless uprising was sometimes called the Velvet Revolution.

There was wide agreement on moving away from the one-party government, but agreeing to new economic and political systems proved more difficult.

In 1992, the country’s legislature voted to dissolve a country that had been joined together since the end of World War I.

Thus began what was called the Velvet Divorce, months of negotiations between leaders of what would soon be the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

They negotiated over all of Czechoslovakia’s assets, from military equipment and resources to state symbols like flags, coats of arms and national anthems.

The Czechoslovakian anthem was, like the country, a mix: the first verse was in Czech, the next in Slovak.

In the split, the two sides decided to bisect the song: the Czech Republic would take the Czech part (its title in English translates to “Where my home is”), while Slovakia made the Slovak part (which translated to “Lightning over the tatras”) as their new anthem, effective January 1st 1993.

Slovakia would go on to add another verse to its anthem.

Some Czechs have wanted to expand their song too, arguing that, among other things, at the Olympics, when they win medals, the song only goes on for about a minute during the medal ceremony.

Many of us have tried to learn new skills during our extra time at home.

Anna Chojnicka is one of them, and the skill she chose was to make art from bananas.

She pokes holes into the peel, which, over time, will turn brown, and she times out precisely when to poke each hole so she can add texture and shade to each image.

The whole thing is to raise money for charity, and in case you’re wondering, she does eat each banana.

Czechs consider national anthem update (BBC)

Amazing Banana Art Made by Poking and Bruising the Skin, No Ink is Used (The Sifter)

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Map via Wikicommons