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22th March 2014

Crazy Czech Traditions

I have to admit that there are certain traditions and habits which may appear a bit strange for someone who isn’t Czech. We have many holidays and I picked up few interesting. There may be some differences between different parts of Czech, but I will stick with it what I know.

EASTERS, April

Most of the countries have a habit of kids looking for the sweet treat and chocolate. But that is not what’s happening in Czech Republic. We do have eggs, but not chocolate one. Kraslice is the Czech name for the hand-painted and decorated Easter eggs that girls create to give to boys on Easter Monday. Boys get the colored egg after the WHIPPING girl over her butt or backside of the leg with willow twigs which are braided and painted with bright color. Usually after this whipping boys get to a have a shot of slivovice (plum brandy).

Traditional cake is a sponge cake in a shape of a lamb. Red symbolizes joy, health, happiness, and new life.

Source: http://calmyourbeans.com/

THE BURNING OF THE WITCHES, April 30:

On the evening of April 30th Czech people build bonfires and create an effigy of the legendary witch who perpetuated winter.  On the villages everyone dress up as a witch that night and there are often even contest of the best masque. The old belief was that witches' powers diminished as the weather warmed. The figures of witches are made of old brooms with painted cloth heads and thrown into a local river or lake to celebrate the end of winter.  Many more times the witches are burned in the evening to symbolize the end of a dreary season. Boys will return home with a green twig or evergreen branch to signify the living spring. 

Source: http://zeny.tiscali.cz/

1ST MAY

Valentines is a pretty new holiday for Czech people. Czech “Valentine” was always first of May. Famous Czech romantic poet called Karel Hynek Mácha wrote a beautiful love poem about the tragic love of two young people witch every kids at school have to read and learn part of it.  Each year, on May 1st, couples gather at the Karel Hynek Mácha statue in Petřín Park where you can find many cherry trees are in bloom. 

NAME DAY

Name day is one of the reason why Czech people getting more gifts than any other nationalities. My friends first even didn’t believe this does exist and Hello! It isn’t anything weird for us. So what is a name day? It is a great tradition in the Czech Republic as well as in many other European countries. Traditionally, all children are given a name from the name day calendar and this custom continues into modern times.  This way, each person in the country has the chance to receive a gift on their own name day each yeaIf you open Czech calendar, you will see that every day of the year is someone’s name day. It is a great thing because in one year you have the right to celebrate twice – your birthday and your name day!

DUSICKY, November 2

Like a Valentine, Halloween is a new holiday for as Czechs too.  We do celebrate it on a different day and on little bit different purpose. But there are many of parties on the actual Halloween. The holiday called Souls is celebrated on November 2nd. No one is dressing up in costumes and kids don’t go from door to door to collect sweet. Sounds weird to you? Yep, I haven’t finished yet.
The tradition is that people go to the cemetery to light up the candle and to remember the closest people who passed away.

ST. NICOLAS, December 6

Haha, that my favorite holiday and  foreigners totally don’t get it. First of all, to clarify, we don’t have Santa Claus but we have a small baby Jesus who brings the present on holy night. But we do have St. Nicolas and for some unknown reason he looks like Santa Claus! But he isn’t on his own, he always go with the devil and the angel. Three of them are going house by house with his magic book where is written if the kid was behave good or bad during the past year. The child has to sing a song or tell a poem. If you have been a good kid St. Nicolas gives you some chocolates and mandarins, peanuts. But if you have behaved badly you should be aware of the devil and you will be given potatoes and coats. And you have to promise to behave good at the next year.

Source: http://www.zilinsky-kraj.sk

CHRISTMAS

Czechs celebrate Christmas on the Christmas Eve on December 24. This day is the most important day not only for children for everyone. There are few interesting facts. First of all we hang out all day long on the 24th till the evening when we open the presents. No one can leave the dining table during a dinner otherwise he is going to die (according to my mum). If you won’t eat all day until the dinner you are supposed to see golden piggy (I don’t know why and I have never seen it either). We are having a fish (a carp) for a dinner on the 24th. Usually dad buys the fish two days before the holy night and the family keeps it in the bath tube (that means no one can have a bath, sometimes even shower, for two days). On the Christmas day (24th) the head of the family kills the fish and we make a fish schnitzel from it. It comes with the potatoes salad. There are more traditions connected to the Christmas like throwing the shoes to find out if the girl will get married next year or keeping one scale from the fish under the plate to get more money next year.

THREE KINGS, January 6

January 6th is the Feast of the Three Kings. Guys dress up as a three wise kings who brought gifts to the little Jesus. Kaspar, Balthazar and Melchior they have been named. They blessed the house with a chunk of chalk. This brings blessings on that home and its family for a year. Usually there is a money collection for charity.

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