How to Celebrate a Czech Christmas

Whether you'll be in the Czech Republic over Christmas, entertaining Czech guests for the holidays, or simply getting in touch with your roots, you probably want to know all the customs and traditions involved in the celebration of a Czech Christmas. This article will teach you what those customs are and how to put them into practice this Christmas.


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    Celebrate Saint Mikulas Day. St. Mikulas is roughly the Czech version of Santa Claus; they are based on the same historical figure, St. Nicholas. St. Mikulas has a day, December 5th, in his honor. In Prague the eve of this day, an actor dressed as St. Mikulas, accompanied by another actor dressed as an angel and another as the devil, can be seen walking the streets, asking children if they have been good, and the angel hands out sweets. In smaller towns, the actors go door to door. Then, later, after the children go to sleep, St. Mikulas hides stockings full of sweets in their rooms.
    • If you're in Prague and interested in seeing the actors, you can see them at the Old Town Square from roughly 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • The devil's role in Czech Christmas tradition is stealing away the bad children, so St. Mikulas day is both fun and a little scary for children.
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    Write letters to Ježíšek (Jesus). While St. Mikulas/Nicholas brings small gifts earlier in the month, Baby Jesus Himself is said to bring gifts on Christmas Eve. Czech children write the same wishlist type letters they might write to Santa in other countries. The Baby Jesus is traditionally considered more abstract than Santa Claus and lives in no particular place, so His address is unknown.
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    Prepare for your festivities. Get a Christmas tree and set it up in your home, but don't decorate it just yet. Have the decorations on hand, though; traditionally the tree would be decorated with apples and sweets, but in the modern day many people use store-bought ornaments. You will also need a carp; in the Czech Republic they are sold live in the days before Christmas and often kept in the bathtub until the Christmas Eve feast, where they serve as the main dish.
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    Celebrate Christmas Eve (December 24). In the Czech Republic, Christmas Eve is the favorite holiday of many people. On Christmas Eve, the tree is decorated and a feast is eaten once the first star has appeared in the sky. The feast includes the aforementioned carp, as well as potato salad. A soup (mushroom, sauerkraut, or fish) might be eaten before the main course, and the meal can be followed by a dessert. Once the meal is finished, everyone sings Christmas songs before moving to the tree, which will, by now, have gifts underneath it.
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    Go to Mass. At midnight on Christmas Eve, most Czechs go to Mass. However, a number of them also go to Mass on Christmas Day before their noon meal.
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    Relax and have fun!


  • Christmas preparations actually begin in November in the Czech Republic. However, do not despair if you are reading this in December. All is certainly not lost!

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Categories: Christmas Parties