Czechast Special: Christmas in Czechia and Czech Communities in America


Welcome to a special holiday edition of Czechast, brought to you by Radio Prague International. Today, we’re diving into the heartwarming and festive world of Christmas celebrations. In this episode, we'll explore the rich traditions and customs of Christmas in the Czech Republic, as well as how Czech and Moravian communities in the United States keep their heritage alive during this joyous season.

Photo: Ulrike Leone,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

Czechs have a saying: “Láska prochází žaludkem”, which I suppose is closely mirrored by the English saying, “The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.” And since Christmas is a celebration of love, we simply cannot ignore the delights on our festive tables, be it here in Czechia or in the Czech communities across the Atlantic.

Christmas exhibition in Veselý kopec | Photo: Pavel Bulena,  Open air museum Vysočina

Czechia is nominally a predominantly Catholic country. However, compared to neighboring Poland or Slovakia, Czechs are generally rather lukewarm when it comes to religion. But this does not mean they welcome Christmas any less enthusiastically than other nations. You will learn something about the folk costums typical for this festive time of the year in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands.

Carp | Photo: Alexas_Fotos,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

Last, but not least, you will learn something about fish and, more specifically, about carp. Yes, Czech Christmas is inseparably associated with this fish. It may be rather dull-tasting but it has become the most common part of a Christmas dinner in the 19th century. It gradually replaced various types of cereal and dried fruit as the most popular fasting meal on Christmas Eve. Strangely enough, the Czech companies producing carp and other freshwater fish do much more business abroad rather than at home. So, the last part of this special episode of Czechast is not just about carps and Christmas but a general trend in Czech society.

Author: Vít Pohanka
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  • Czechast

    Czechast is a regular RPI podcast about Czech and Moravian culture, history, and economy.

  • Czech Christmas

    Radio Prague International has prepared a selection of articles on Christmas traditions for you.