The best holiday of the year is here again. It doesn´t matter if you spend them in Europe, Australia, USA or somewhere else in the world. Christmas is always a time that you want to spend with your families and friends in peace and at rest. But if we talk about the traditions, Christmas can be pretty different all over the world. Let´s have a look together how the Czech Christmas looks like. Who brings us the presents, what do we eat, how we celebrate. Here is my typical Christmas day.
All the important things happen on the 24th of December. In our family, there is always an important rule. NO MEAT until the dinner. The one who brakes the rule will not see the flying golden pig. Once I was sure I saw it, but it was only my older sister dressed in a golden jacket. The typical breakfast is a braided sweet bread. We call it „vanocka“ in the Czech language. If you are not manually skilled, don´t try it 😊
It´s time to decorate a Christmas tree. Pine, spruce or fir, it doesn´t matter. But it must always be an animate one. Do you fight for the color of the tree in your family as we do? Each year it´s the same. But the tree is always beautiful, doesn´t matter what color it´s.
Just after the quick lunch (typically lunch in our family means „eat what you can find) we prepare the table for dinner. The classic Czech dinner includes:
– Fish soup – typically it´s done from carps. As I don´t like it at all, there must be prepared extra pumpkin soup just for myself 😊
– Potatoe „salad“ with fried carp – no, this salad is definitely not the wholesome one. It consists of potatoes, boiled vegetable (carrot, parsley, pea), onion, pickle, eggs, and looooot of mayonnaise. You can preparer lighter version from yogurt. The carp is breaded and fried.
– Confectionery – in the past, each family, has baked their own sweets. Nowadays, it´s not exceptional, that people buy sweets. Anyway, still it´s homemade, not purchased in the supermarket. A good homemaker should prepare at least ten different kinds of sweets.
Once everything is on the table, we go outside for a short trip. If we spend Christmas in the countryside, we go to the forest and bring something to eat to animals. After the trip, we are pretty hungry to start dinner.
Who brings the gifts?
But before we start to eat, everybody needs to put the presents below the tree. It might be difficult to explain, who brings the gifts in the Czech Republic. It´s not Santa. It´s small Jesus, when he was a child. As it is difficult to express the appearance of small Jesus, you can´t see his face anywhere, like Santa for example.
Once the dinner is finished, we go all together to the tree to unpack all the boxes and packages. Sometimes it can take a lot of time. But opening needs to be finished until seven, as the fairy-tale starts in TV. The most popular Christmas movie is the Czech version of Cinderella.
The last part of the day is the mass in the church. Despite the fact, that the Czech nation can be considered as the nation of atheists, the churches are full of people during the Christmas night.
There are many other traditions that differ between the regions and families. You can cut the apple, and whoever has the star inside, will live long. Girls throw the shoes against the door. If the tip points outside, this means that this girl will marry during the next year. One quite danger tradition can be the lead casting. The melted lead is then poured to the cold water and people are guessing the shape of the casted pieces. What they can see it them, this will happen during the next year. And we can´t forget the carols. During the whole day we sing or listen to the classic Czech carols. This one is my favorite.
Doesn´t matter in which way you celebrate the Christmas. The important thing is to spend it with the right people.
We wish you a very nice Christmas spent at rest with your dearests.