Czech Christmas from A to Z

Czech Christmas from A to Z

A is for apple, slice it in half crosswise to tell your fortune (a star-shaped core means happiness and health).

B is for the annual beatdown given to the carp; don’t feel bad for it though, it’s unlucky!

C is for crescents, wasp nests, Linzers, and other holiday cookies that are easy to eat, impossible to make.

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

D is for deep-fried everything: carp, řízek, and wine sausage, whatever they say Czech Christmas ain’t healthy.

E is for empty churches suddenly full (midnight mass is a popular event even in one of the world’s most atheist countries).

F is for fish scales, to be dried and carried in your wallet, for prosperity year round, like a good Czech.

Image: www.ceskatelevize.cz
Image: www.ceskatelevize.cz

G is for the traditional dishes of groats and garlic (Black Kuba), and, of course, gingerbread.

H is for hunger, embrace it before the feast and see the mythical Golden Pig.

I is for “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no wait it’s Baby Jesus,” invisible and flying through the Christmas sky like Superman.

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J is for Josef Lada whose folksy paintings grace the Christmas greetings and postage stamps of the season.

Image: Flicker/bebouchard
Image: Flicker/bebouchard

K is for Karel Gott, the Czech Bing Crosby, whose Christmas croonings are essential holiday listening.

L is for lentils and legumes, like the peas in the potato salad, traditionally eaten at Christmas for luck.

M is for the money hiding under your plate, the more you get the wealthier you will be in the New Year.

Image: Supraphon.cz
Image: Supraphon.cz

N is for nothing, absolutely nothing, left on your plate. Eat up or bad luck comes your way!

O is for ornaments, stunning in straw and glass, hung on the tree on Christmas Day.

P is for Pretty Woman and other American films (Home Alone) that are required holiday viewing in the Czech Republic.

Image: Aukro.cz
Image: Aukro.cz

Image: Bozkov Facebook page
Image: Bozkov Facebook page

S is for socks, soap, and sweets; give or receive them in the true spirit of Czech Christmas.

T is for tuning into Czech fairy tales (pohadky), the cheesier the better, see our favorites here.

U is for action under the mistletoe, pucker up, Czechs do it, too!

The Incredibly Sad Princess/Image: Supraphon.cz
The Incredibly Sad Princess/Image: Supraphon.cz

V is for vánočka the very yummy braided Czech Christmas bread that also makes fantastic French toast.

W is for walnut boats, stick a candle in the middle and float them across a bowl of water to tell your fortune.

X is for the extra place setting at the table, an odd number of settings is considered unlucky.

Image: Simply Good Facebook
Image: Simply Good Facebook


Elizabeth Haas

Elizabeth Haas is the editor of Expats.cz. She has lived in Prague for 12 years working as a writer and editor of cookbooks and travel guides. Her work has appeared in both Czech and American publications.

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