Experiencing Christmas in the Czech Republic included a lot of new foods, traditions, and superstitious activities that quite often result in a foretelling of fast approaching death. It kind of felt like I was in Professor Trelawney’s classroom (you’re welcome, Harry Potter fans).
Czechs eat their Christmas dinner on the evening of December 24th. The meal typically consists of carp and potato salad. The carp is bought from men with large buckets of fish on the streets, lives in the bathtub for a couple of days, and is then killed and fed to the family. I assume the people in the house all bathe the next day.
Instead of Santa, Ježíšek (baby Jesus) brings the Christmas gifts after dinner and puts them under the Christmas tree. I found this to be pretty funny since Czechs are known for their high population of atheists.
After filling your bellies with food and opening your presents from Ježíšek, it’s time to die! Hooray! Not all the traditional beliefs and superstitious activities result in death but they’re all pretty quirky.
See The Flying Golden Pig
If you don’t eat for the whole day, you’ll see a flying golden pig in the sky! Some day you’ll see the piggy if you don’t eat meat for the whole day and some say that you must fast completely.
My result: I ate. Lots.
Cutting The Apple
Cut an apple in half. If you see a star, you live! If you see a cross, start saying your goodbyes; your time is near.
My result: Survival!
Melting The Lead
Melt a piece of led over a flame and then quickly dump the lead into water. The shape the lead turns into predicts the events for the future or, you know, death.
My result: Rather than making one shape, I had a piece that looked like a peacock, a piece that looked like a swan, and a bunch of little pieces that could have been raindrops or tears. What does that mean? No idea.
Throwing The Shoe
All the unmarried girls in the room throw a shoe over their shoulder. If the toe of the shoe points towards the door, the girl will marry within a year.
My result: My shoe hit a cat… Seriously.
Walnut shells are used as little boats and each person places a candle in their shell. If two shells float together, it means love and friendship. If one shell floats away, it means separation. If your shell sinks… you guessed it! Death!
My result: I died rather quickly but we were all determined to be friends till the end. With a lot of re-lighting of the candles, saving sinking ships, and a little nudging, we managed to coax our shells to all sail together.
Basically, we cheated.
Do you have any weird or quirky Christmas traditions?