The festival of Christmas gets the country of Czech Republic buzzing! Celebrations begin mid-November, when people start cleaning their houses and start decorating. Festivities reach a peak on the 6th of December, with the visit of St. Nicholas and the Three Kings. Merry making, carol singing and shopping are a priority among youngsters in the Czech Republic. The Christmas market will be thrown open to the public. This would typically include restaurants, shops and bars. The Czechs spend Christmas with their families, adorning the Christmas tree and preparing a heavy dinner. Christmas is that time of the year when even poor families are ensured of a good meal. There are numerous superstitions related to this particular day. Read on to get an idea about the customs and traditions practiced in the Czech Republic.
Czech Republican Christmas Customs
In the Czech Republic, the Advent period begins four Sundays prior to Christmas Eve. Wreaths made of evergreen branches and decorated with ribbons, ornaments and four (symbolizing four weeks of the Advent period) properly positioned candles are created. These are gifted to children who start the countdown to the 25th of December. Another tradition is the opening of 24 small windows, every day, placed on cards, to find chocolates in each one of them.
Christmas Eve or Adam and Eve's Day is one of the most festive days in the Czech Republic. Families decorate Christmas trees with traditional ornaments, followed by a Christmas dinner. They also sing carols and songs around the fully lit-up tree. Children also believe that Baby Jesus enters the room with gifts on Christmas Eve. This is followed by midnight mass or 'Pasterka' at a local church.
Christmas dinner is served only after sunset or after the first star comes out. The meal is inclusive of carp, potato salad, mushroom and sauerkraut and fish soup. Desserts such as apple strudel are commonly seen on the dinner table. Traditional Christmas bread called 'vanocka' was very popular in the Middle Ages but has lost its importance in the past few years.
Christmas And St. Stephens Day
On Christmas Day, churches are filled with evergreen Christmas trees. Czech Republic celebrates on the 25th and 26th of December, known as the First and Second Christmas Holidays or Christmas Feast and St. Stephens Day respectively. On the second day, people of all age groups visit neighbouring houses and sing carols.
Superstitions In The Czech Republic
There are plenty of superstitions revolving around Christmas in the Czech Republic. It is believed that a person who fasts for one whole day until the Christmas dinner can see the 'golden piglet', a symbol of fortune. Another one says that anyone who fails to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve will be met with poverty. Also, pregnant woman can find out whether their baby is a boy or a girl based on the first visitor who enters the house on Christmas Eve.
A popular custom on Christmas Eve is Barboky, practiced on the 4th of December and called The Feast of St. Barbara. On this day, girls immerse a branch of a cherry tree in water. If the buds bloom before Christmas Eve then it is said that she will get married in the same year.
Christmas celebrated in the Czech Republic has plenty of joy and cheer. It is a pleasure to visit the place during that time.
Read about Christmas and its traditions in Czech Republic and Czech Republican Christmas custom too.