Czech Christmas Traditions
Christmas is a magical time when family and friends get together. It’s also a time when people keep to traditions. Even in modern days, they mean a lot to people. Traditions represent something that is repeated every year and something to look forward to. Each family has their own Christmas traditions that are passed on from generation to generation. Let’s have a look at some Christmas traditions in the Czech Republic.
Cutting the apple
This is a very simple tradition, which can be a lot of fun though. All you need is an apple and a knife. You cut the apple in half. If you see that the seeds inside the apple are forming a star, you will have good luck in the following year.
Watching fairy tales
People in Czechia love watching fairy tales during the Christmas holidays. They make themselves comfortable, watch stories where Good always beats Evil, and nibble at Christmas cookies. During Christmas, TV stations broadcast a lot of fairy tales. Fairy tales are an important part of Czech culture. They are full of princesses, kings, queens, witches, mischievous devils, and magical objects. People like watching their favorite fairy tales over and over again, even if they know them almost by heart. Among the most popular ones are Cinderella or The Princess with the Golden Star (the golden star is located on the Princess’s forehead).
Nativity Scenes are a big tradition in the Czech Republic. You can see Baby Jesus, Saint Mary, Saint Joseph, or the Three Kings. Nativity Scenes can be seen at Christmas markets. Children especially appreciate those with live animals, like sheep or little goats. Some artisans specialize in making Nativity Scenes. Since there is a big tradition of woodcarving in the Czech Republic, many of them are made of wood. During Christmas time you can visit exhibitions with beautiful Nativity Scenes. When you are in the Czech Republic around Christmas, look for výstava Betlémů (výstava means exhibition, Betlém is the Czech name for the city of Bethlehem, but is also used when referring to the Nativity Scene).
Decorations are an important part of Christmas as well. Decorations make your home cozy. Many things can be decorated. When it comes to Christmas decorations, probably the first thing to pop up in your mind is the Christmas tree. Every family has their own set of Christmas decorations they like to use to make their Christmas tree look pretty. Nowadays, decorations for the Christmas tree can be made of all kinds of materials, such as glass, wood, or straw. People often go to Christmas markets to seek inspiration. Some people like decorating their Christmas tree with gingerbread cookies. People often place the Nativity Scene in front of their Christmas tree.
Many people have an Advent wreath in their homes. It has four candles. Each Sunday during Advent, which is four weeks before Christmas, people burn a candle. These wreaths are very popular and they make a perfect decoration.
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People like to hang mistletoe on their ceiling lamps and kiss their loved ones beneath it. Before Christmas, you can see a lot of mistletoe vendors. They sell plain mistletoe or a variation dipped in golden paint. This adds a touch of luxury to the Christmas atmosphere. Merry Christmas!
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