czwartek, 21 grudnia 2017

Check the Czech Christmas

Wesołych Świąt!

Christmas time is knocking on our doors and I am going back to see my family for the holidays. But before I leave I would like to present to you some Czech traditions and what Christmas looks like in my family 😊

Soo, where to start?

The main holiday for Czech people is the 24th December, we call it Štědrý den.

It should be a day of fasting (for some it means not eating at all, for some just avoiding meat) and there is a saying that if you manage not to eat, you will see the Golden pig (Zlaté prasátko). And Kofola (the Czech version of Coca cola but a bit spiced and much much better!) made a joke out of this saying in a commercial, it has been more than ten years and they have been playing it during Christmas time ever since, it has become probably the most popular commercial ever!


If you don't want to starve until dinner, you can cook a simple dish called Kuba, made from groats and mushrooms.

But be sure to keep enough space for the most important meal, the dinner - Štědrovečerní večeře. 

The protagonist here is carp fish. There are more traditions connected with carp than only the dinner so lets starts from the begining. A week or so before Chrismas the streets get flooded with barrels of fish where you buy a living carp or have it killed and unboned on the spot. Some people who buy alive, later put the fish into a bathtub, which is an old habit kept from the times when people did't have fridges.

Carp meat is cut into horse shoe shapes, deep fried in the triple layer crust (flour, egg, bread crums)
and served with potato salad as the main dish. The soup is also made from carp and you can use pretty much everything that is left from the fish so typicaly you make broth from the head and little cut offs together with root vegetables and later you add also the roe and milt 🐟😉

Me and my mom don't like carp so we prepare a different fish so there is only one traditional horseshoe carp on the table
And it goes even more "zero waste" because you don't even trow away the scales, you wash them and give to all family members to keep them in their wallets because they are supposed to bring you money! 💰 (You can also put them under your plate during the dinner)

Then comes the time to open presents. Normally "Ježíšek" (baby Jesus) brings them before the dinner, when the children are in another room and rings the bell, they run to the tree trying to see Ježíšek, but he is always gone. In my family we first eat and then all sit around the tree, eat some Christmas cookies and open the presents one by one throughout the whole evening.

Some people go to the midnight mass, but my family is not religious and we are lazy to move after all the food 😆 Instead we attend a midday singing in the town next to us where my aunt, uncle and sometimes also my cousins sing. It is a nice gathering where you meet many friends and acquaintances, wish them "Veselé Vánoce!" and drink some grzane wino.

There also many traditions for predicting future done during Christmas, some more known and popular. For example you can cut apples in half and if you see a star, everything is ok but if you see a cross inside, then you will die the next year. Not very positive. Or single girls kick shoes behind them and if the shoe is pointing in the direction of the door, she will get married and leave the house, if it is away from the door she will stay one more. Something similar works also with little boats made of nut shells with candles inside, if your boat separates from the others you will probably travel somewhere, if it drowns, bad things happen.

Some people celebrate only the 24th, some people also the 25th, some (like my family) even the 26th!

On the 25th we meet with my aunt, uncle and cousins for lunch either in their house or ours (depending on where is my grandma staying, because we take turns who will have her on the 24th each year😊), we drink some better champagne, eat stuffed turkey and open another round of presents.

On the 26th we all go to my grandmother's little flat and we eat goose with dumplings and sour cabbage. I love this meal so much!!! 😍 After that we go together to light candles at my grandfather's and a few more graves. Also we have a little tradition to light as many candle as possible at the INRI cross (the one that are already there). And that's it!

Ok, now I need to catch my bus home because I don't want to miss all of this!

I wish you all "Wszystkiego najlepszego", enjoy the holidays and see you in 2018!!!


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