What’s Strange on Exchange?

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What’s Strange on Exchange?

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The holidays are coming! Yay! Let me introduce you to Czech Christmas traditions.

The first tradition happens on December 5th. In the evening, Angel, Devil and St. Nicholas (Mikulas) visit little kids. Devil tells them all their sins and they have to sing in order to repair their mistakes and not be taken to hell. Sometimes devils are so scary that children hide under the table or even wet their pants. Before they go to bed, they put a stocking behind a window and in the morning they find sweets and candy in it from St. Nicholas. Sometimes when they’re naughty, they might find a potato, onion or a piece of a coal there (that happened to me almost every year).

Advent, which is shared in the United States by several faiths, is celebrated every Sunday in December. We light one candle on a Christmas wreath in order to remind ourselves of a reborn Jesus, reflect on our lives and be grateful for our loving family and friends. We also often go to a Christmas market, eat baked chestnuts, drink hot punch and buy ornaments for a Christmas tree.

One of the important preparations for Christmas is baking Christmas cookies. We have a lot of different delicious kinds. We also enjoy singing and listening to Christmas carols. Our famous Christmas piece is Czech Christmas Mass from a composer Jakub Jan Ryba. The first well-known phrase is: “Master Hey, Rise I say!”.

When Christmas Eve is near, it’s time to buy Christmas tree and write a letter to a Baby Jesus. We do not have Santa. Instead, our Baby Jesus comes through the window (we have to keep a window open) usually during dinner on Christmas Eve and rings jingle bells when he’s leaving.

On Christmas Eve morning we usually watch Christmas fairytale movies on TV and later we have dinner with the whole family. Our traditional meal is carp or salmon with potato salad and a champagne toast at the end. After dinner, we open our gifts. Some people go to church for midnight mass.

On January 6th, the last day of Christmas, the three wise men (Biblical Magi) come to all houses and write with a chalk their names K+M+B (Kaspar, Melichar, Baltazar) and the current year up every door. Legend says this will bring peace and scare the death away from the house. Young people usually dress up as the Biblical Magi and try to raise money for charities.

I hope I gave you a good view on how Christmas in Czech looks. Have a nice holiday!!

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