Celebrating Christmas in the Czech Republic? You might be curious to learn about some of the unusual Czech Christmas traditions and superstitions! Czechs still do some stuff around the Christmas time to entertain, bring mystery to the Holy Night, and keep the traditions alive. Let’s take a look at five Czech Christmas traditions that might seem a little bit bizarre to a foreigner.
Pet a carp before eating it
Fried carp is a main course of the traditional Czech Christmas menu. Many families buy carp alive in advance and keep it in their bathtubs for several days until it’s time to cook it. This sounds like a weird tradition. You might get attached to a fish over the days of feeding it, possibly giving it a name, playing with it and, then, killing and eating it. Perhaps, for this reason, many people keep a carp for a while and then release it into a river instead of eating it. So they give a chance to the fish to start a new chapter of life in a new year.
Carp brings money
So at first, you have to pet a carp then murder it and then keep its scale in your wallet during the next year. According to this tradition, the scale is supposed to attract more money to your wallet and make your family wealthier in the upcoming year. Hmm, sound manageable. Should try to do it this Christmas, who knows?
Baby Jesus instead of Santa Claus
Czech kids don’t write letters to Santa and don’t try to see Santa’s sleigh with his reindeers in the night sky of Christmas Eve. Instead, kids believe that Baby Jesus delivers presents under the Christmas tree and rings a bell upon his leaving. It usually happens by the end of the family dinner on December 24th. What a nice trick to make children behave nicely during dinner.
Although, Baby Jesus doesn’t have a “naughty or nice” list, on December 5th there’s another celebration where children are at risk of receiving coal if they have misbehaved. St. Nicholas, together with an angel and a devil, visits children and either rewards them with candies or punishes with coal for their behavior in the previous year.
You will see a golden piglet flying in the sky if
… you fast for the whole day! Basically, you are allowed to eat anything you want but meat and in a limited amount. This is quite a challenge especially to those who are real meat lovers and many Czechs are. Starting from the morning of December 24th you should not touch a single piece of klobása. Only if you are playing by the rules, in the evening you have a high chance to see a golden piglet that will bring you are great luck in the upcoming year. I personally, don’t know anyone who saw it, but the niece of my friend’s great great aunt said that she knows a lady who saw a golden piglet and in the next year became the richest woman in the country.
Half an apple to know your future
During the Christmas dinner, you can cut the apple half and see if you will have a happy or sad upcoming year. If the center of the apple looks like a star than you will be well and healthy. If the cross appears, don’t expect anything good coming your way. The same works with walnuts – if, when you crack it, the nut is healthy and fresh, it’s a good sign. If it’s black, guess what. I personally, wouldn’t want to play with my destiny. There is too much on the plate!
Do you want to try any of these traditions and make your Christmas more Czech this year? Or, maybe, there are some special traditions your family does over Christmas in your home country? Share them with us!
Expat Hub team wishes you Merry Christmas and happy New Year!