Christmas is fast approaching, and so we’ve decided to introduce you to the most well-known Christmas customs and traditions in the Czech Republic.
Christmas is considered to be the most beautiful and most important holiday of the year and the majority of Czechs spend Christmas in the company of their close relatives and friends. The Christmas holidays are 3 days long – the 24th is the Christmas Eve, the 25th is the First Christmas Holiday and the 26th is known as the Second Christmas Holiday.
Children in the Czech Republic receive their presents already during the evening the 24th of December, traditionally finding them underneath the Christmas tree, where the baby Jesus has left them. Before or after that they eat the traditional Christmas dinner – fish soup, carp and potato salad, and of course Christmas biscuits. Czechs bake many different kinds of biscuits, usually starting with gingerbreads at the end of November.
Only the housewife may leave the table at Christmas dinner, whereas everyone else leaves the table at the end of the meal, and all at once. Sometimes an extra place is prepared at the table – for the case that an unexpected guest shows up. A fish scale is placed underneath one of the plates – whoever finds it should keep it in his wallet, so that his money won’t leave it.
The Christmas Eve festivities include pouring molten lead into the water – from its shape you can guess the future. Girls try to see whether they are to be married in the next year by throwing their slippers over their shoulder; if the toe is pointing to the door, the girl will leave her parent’s home in the next year. People also shake elderberry branches or float walnut boats with little candles.
Fairytales on TV are another inherent part of the Czech Christmas. After eating dinner and unwrapping presents, most Czechs sit down to watch Three Wishes for Cinderella, a story that has become a Christmas classic.
Do you know any of the Czech customs? And which tradition is typical for your family?