Christmas time is here and is celebrated differently in every country. Which, of course, will not be a secret to you. What you may not know is how we – Czechs, celebrate Christmas.

Czechoslovakian Advent

Advent begins 4 weeks before Christmas. Every Sunday we light one candle on Advent’s wreath. Variations on this wreath are different and sometimes very original. Maybe sometimes too original. From the first of December, the kids have a chocolate from the Advent Calendar every morning. Some honestly only have the appropriate chocolate on that day. But there are also cases like me who have the whole calendar already on November 30…

During Advent, we are also very happy to visit the Christmas markets. Not only in our neighborhood but also in Vienna or Dresden. It is also associated with sipping a sledgehammer and eating a trdelnik.  We also bake all types of candy. Christmas candy and its baking is one of the popular Christmas traditions, which is respected in a large part of Czech households. Most of the Christmas cookies are prepared from a mixture of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, cocoa, chocolate and various nuts and candied fruits. Typical include linseed desserts, which can also be flavored with grated coconut or cocoa. Typical scents are vanilla and rum, typical spices of cinnamon. Traditionally, at least 7 varieties should be baked.

Czech Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions

Christmas Eve is December 24th. Usually, that day is not doing much. Most people look at Czech fairytales and eat Christmas candies from dawn. It is a tradition that the whole family is meeting at a gala dinner. The dinner itself traditionally consisted of fish soup, potato salad and carp, and some habits prevailed during its consumption. For example, one plate was more for an unexpected visit, or a coin was placed under the plate. Who found it, they should have money for the whole year. Another habit is that only the housekeeper could move away from the Christmas Eve dinner until all people have finished. In our family, no one can stand up for the whole evening otherwise something bad happens.  Next, there are gifts. In each household there is a Christmas tree (typically fir or pine). It is decorated with various decorations and chains. Below this tree there are already mentioned gifts. This is brought to us by a little baby Jesus (Ježíšek). Then we look at TV for a fairy tale (mostly our Czech Cinderella).

Then there is a midnight mass in the church. We also have a lot of traditions. Here’s a couple of them: Mistletoe. People usually fix the mistletoe on the chandelier or over the door. Probably because under a hanging mistletoe, a man has the right to kiss any girl or woman. Lead pouring is another tradition. Above the flame, a bit of lead starts to melt. Prepare the pot of water and pour the lead carefully. The casting that comes into existence guides his future. For example, star casting means success, recognition. We also have a tradition with shoes. Single girls throw a shoe over their heads. If they turn their heels to the door, they will stay home. If they turn their toes to the door, they marry and leave.

A very Happy Christmas to you all.