Czech Christmas Traditions

From Advent to Christmas Eve dinner

Czech Christmas is a joyful time for families and children’s happiness. The magic atmosphere of Christmas calls for families and close friends to gather together, fulfilling children’s wishes and desires, but it’s also a time for family traditions and costumes. During the Christmas festive season which is from Advent to Christmas Day, there area lot of traditions and costumes enjoyed by Czechs. During your stay in Prague you will definitely have the opportunity to personally experience some of them.

Tradicional Christmas in Prague.   ©   Czech Tourism St. Nichols day in Prague.   ©   Czech Tourism

Advent

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. It’s a time of expectation and happiness while waiting for the coming of Christmas Eve. One candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday and let to entirely burn.

Saint Nicholas

One of the most popular days during advent is the 5thof December, St. Nicholas day. If you find yourself walking the streets on that evening, you may come face to face with St. Nicholas accompanied with an Angel and a Devil. They reward the children who behaved well with sweets or fruit whereas children who were naughty will just get potatoes and coal.

Christmas Carp

The carp is the symbol of Czech Christmas. During the Christmas period you can see all over the city water tanks full of live carps. They were brought to the city from ponds situated in Southern Bohemia. Parents often let their children choose a carp as well as decide whether simply eat the carp or give it freedom by putting it back to the river or pond. However, most carps that have been bought swim around in the bathroom tub until Christmas Eve.

24th of December

Czechs celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, that is on December 24th. How is Christmas Eve celebrated? During the day (Štědrý den - Generous Day), usually people fast all day. According to the tradition, if you fast during the day, you will be able to see the golden pig, which is meant to be a sign of good luck! Dinner is served and enjoyed in the family circle after the sunset. The Christmas Eve dinner consists of a fried carp, a potato salad, a traditional cake and a variety of Christmas cookies. After dinner, the family will gather around the decorated Christmas tree, surrounded by presents. In the Czech republic, it is Baby Jesus (Ježíšek) who brings the presents.

Some Christmas fortune teller predictions:

According to the tradition, Christmas Eve is the ideal time for predicting the future. Different costumes and traditions will enable us uncover secrets that our destiny holds for us.

Carp scales: Putting one clean carp scale into your wallet all year will ensure that money will not run out.

Apple: Cut the apple crosswise, if a clear star appears it means that this star will protect you for the whole year.

Walnuts: If you crack 4 walnuts in a raw, everybody in the household will be in good health. The Throwing of the Shoe: Throwing a shoe over one’s shoulder is a tradition for unmarried girls. If the shoe lands with the toe pointing towards the door, the girl will marry within a year.

Walnut shells: Candles are placed in empty walnut shells, and each family member has his own. Everyone’s shells are then floated in a large bowl of water. If the shell makes it across the bowl, its owner will live a long and healthy life. A shell that sinks brings bad luck to its owner.

Pouring of Lead: Put some liquid lead in a large spoon and pour it into a container of cold water, the metal will harden and create irregular shapes. The resulting shape will tell the pourer’s destiny.

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

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