Wow! Another really late post from me! This is getting to be a trend, well I guess it's no surprise for anyone who knows me, I sure do procrastinate a lot. So anyways, this post is about my Christmas in the Czech Republic, the title "Vánoce v české republice" means "Christmas in the Czech Republic". At first I was a bit nervous for Christmas, everyone told me that it would be the time that I get the most homesick, so I wasn’t looking forward to that, but there was so much to look forward to, baking with my family, decorating, going into the forest to find a tree(now it wasn't the tree for my family, but it was still fun to help pick it out), the Christmas markets and everything else. I'm going to be seperating this post into two seperate parts, one for before Christmas, all the prep, and some of the traditions and the second being the actual Christmas day and what I did then as well as the traditions of the day.
.Christmas in Czechia is really special, they bake amazing sweets, have great Christmas markets and decorate their trees really nicely. Around the start of December families start baking gingerbread people, to decorate as the members of the family and different "cukrovi". Cukrovi are the different little cookies that are made for the time around Christmas, each family has their favourite type and they bake up to six or seven different types a year, however some of my exchange friends had families who baked over 10 different types!. That's a lot of baking!!
In my family we made vanilkove rohlicky and these chocolate coconut ones, and then my host grandma made about six others. My favourites were the vanilkove rohlicky, the ones with some jam or nutela between two cookies, these little chocolate ones and of course good old fashioned gingerbread. In my previous post I mentioned that I made and decorated gingerbread with my family, and then with my sister I made vanilkove rohlicky. The cookies are meant to be eaten from the 24th until... well, until they're all done, so for us it took while because there were so many(but I wasn't complaining AT ALL). We decorated our tree with our gingerbread families, my family had all of them plus some extended family, and then I made my Canadian family too. They also hang these little gummie candies on the tree as well as chocolate ball.
At the start of December we also started decorating everything for Christmas, the advent calendar was put up and Klára and I made two wreaths, one was for the door, and the other was for the table. On the one for the table there were four candles, and every advent Sunday a candle was lit. I’m not exactly sure what the advent candles or the advent Sunday’s are meant to symbolize, but it’s still a really nice tradition(and one that I’ll have to do more research on;).
On about the 10th of December the Christmas markets start getting set up, they're so amazing and I just love the feeling of festivity thats all around them. There were lots, the largest being Old Town square, I only visited that one once because it was super super busy. One of my favourites was the one at Namesti Miru as well as the one at Namesti Republiky. At the markets you can buy traditional mulled wine(Svarak) as well as honey wine and Christmas Punch. There were also a variety of things that would make good presents, scarves, gloves, paintings, christmas ornaments, and many other things, there were also many types of food, like sausages, and of course trdelnik.
Another really traditional thing that Czech people do before Christmas is they watch fairy tales, these fairy tales many people watched when they were children and they’re always aired in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The most famous one is “Tři oříšky pro Popelku” which is the Czech version of Cinderella. Overall the preparations before Christmas in Czechia are amazing. Below you’ll see photos of the time leading up to Christmas, I have some photos of the hristmas market there, making cookies, decorating cookies, the final products of the cookies(there may be a trend to this post;) and photos of me and my mom and sister at the Christmas market in Annaberg, Germany as well as me, my sister and my sister’s friend at another Christmas market in Germany, but I forget exactly where, it was a ten minute drive though, also there are Christmas markets in Prague, the one in Vaclavske Namesti and the one Namesti Miru.
.mIn the Czech Republic they do all their celebrations on the 24th, and the 25th is just treated as a day of rest. All in all I think thats what made me the most homesick, the timing. I was fine on the 24th but on the 25th I knew that my whole family was celebrating and I wasn't there. But less sad stuff, lets get right to it.
On Christmas Eve Day there is a tradition where you can't eat until Christmas Dinner, if you sucseed and you don't eat you get to see the Golden Pig. I'm not exactly sure where this tradition comes from but I'm very glad that my family didn't do it, they just said we can't eat meat unil the Christmas meal. We spent Christmas morning relaxing, until lunch and then we had this dish called kuba and Vanocka, Christmas bread. I'm not exactly sure what kuba is, I thinks its made of mushrooms and maybe lentils?? Whatever it is, I'm happy I had the experine of trying it but I don't think I'll ever have it again unless if I'm in Czechia for Christmas again. The Vanocka was really good, the bread it's self is very sweet and fluffy and there are shaved almonds on the top. Vanocka looks really neat because it is braided, and then placed on top of each other, I'm not quite sure how to explain it but it makes it rather dificult to make. After lunch we tried to do the “fortune telling” tradition of dropping melted led into cold water and then the shape of t tells us how are year will be. It was rest but the canldle that we were using wasn’t very hotbso we decided to do t at my host grandparents house. Side note: I got one of these sets for Christmas as a joint gift from some of my classmates so it’s definitely something I’ll be doing at home, even though the accuracy of the fortune telling is debatable.
At around three we went over to my host grandparents house in Carlsbad. My host grandparents are so kind, I loved spending time with them. When we got there I helped prepare the carp with my host grandma and my sister, Klara. It was fun because I was talking with my host grandma and we managed to communicate even though she speaks very little english, and I speak very little czech.
A traditional Czech Christmas meal is a lentil soup, so that we'll get money in the coming year(I guess lentils look like money?), carp, and potato salad. The carp was okay I loved the potato salad, even though it was very different than what I was expecting.
After dinner we sang carols all together and I misponounced every single word but it was still so fun. We also played darts, which I discovered, with no surprise, that I am TERRIBLE at. It was very very funny though, and I still had a great time. After darts it was time for presents, I got really good presents and I'm so thankful to my host family as well as my family in Canada for sending me them. The present that takes the cake is a pillow with a photo of me and my host family, I love it so much and it will definitly be in my room in Canada.
I think that's all for my Christmas post, thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy the photos down below. The photos below are of Christmas Day.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update, I’m really sorry it’s so late, I got caught up with life here and also procrastination(okayyyyy mostly procrastination). Hopefully I’ll have a few more updates in the coming weeks about the Christmas rotary meeting(okay that’s ones reeeeaaaallly late), the winter rotary meeting and an appreciation post for my previous family(the one you see in all these photos), but like the last times where I’ve tried to set a goal for myself in terms of posting here it hasn’t really worked out, sooooooo maybe don’t get your hopes up.
Anyways, thank you once again, and check back here in a months time and you may be surprised with another oost(or you might not, I’m going to keep you guessing;).
Bye for now,