Photo: CTK

Doctors are trying to get Czechs to eat carp all year round, not just at Christmas. Political opponents raise their voices in song together, and over 100 hardy Czechs prepare to jump into the Vltava river on New Year’s Day. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Bohemian fisheries specializing in carp breeding have been given instructions as to what their carp should be fed. And, as of next year, patients at the Poděbrady heart spa will be served this ultra-healthy breed of carp three times a week for a period of six weeks. Doctors will monitor their heart condition and overall health in the course of this experiment. The idea is to convince people that eating fish really makes a difference to their health and to get them to eat more of it. The country’s leading cardiologists are cooperating with heart experts from Sweden who have done similar experiments with trout and salmon. But, because so few Czechs seem to be naturally fond of fish, the south Bohemian fisheries have gone even further - developing a new breed of carp without a lot of fine bones, merely a backbone that can be easily extracted. Well, if that doesn’t do the trick I don’t know what will. The only problem is – if we all eat carp three times a week - what on earth will we have on Christmas Eve? Not carp again, I hope…

Photo: Reaperman,  Creative Commons 3.0
Christmas often turns into an orgy of good food and most of us are now in a position to confirm that – several kilos heavier and gearing up for another bash on New Year’s Eve before heading for the gym on January 2. Having feasted on carp for the better part of three days most Czechs are happy not to see it again until next Christmas but doctors have other plans for us. Specialists from Prague’s cardio centre IKEM are working on a project aimed to make the carp a staple part of our diet. Nine south

Czech lawmakers – both senators and deputies - have a lot to answer for. People’s trust in the two houses of Parliament has never been lower, and some say that nor has political culture. But come Christmas they forgot their fights and grievances long enough to raise their voice in song together. Thirty deputies and senators across the political spectrum joined the Christmas choir at St. Vitus’ Cathedral to sing the famous Czech Christmas mass by Jakub Jan Ryba. For once –and once only -they sang in harmony before going back to their benches to renew their squabbles.

Buried under the mobile phones, computer games and play-stations was the real hit of this Christmas – a wafer-thin envelope containing an adrenalin gift voucher. The adrenalin-business is booming, there are 60 agencies in Prague alone offering adrenalin rides in one form or another and they report that sales have gone through the roof. Although electronic gadgets and appliances are still selling really well many Czechs are now hankering after something different: a parachute jump, a ride in a hummer or a flight in a hot-air balloon for two. The childhood dream of becoming a garbage collector can be made to come true for a day – at the price of 5,000 crowns and you can have a go at being a zoo keeper for about the same amount. People who have money to burn can buy a trip into space for 200,000 dollars aboard Space Ship Two leaving from New Mexico, take a Formula 1 racing course in France or a flight in a fighter jet. But, not many people found that kind of treat under their Christmas tree, what with the financial crisis and all…

Photo: CTK
For those who crave an adrenalin rush – and have no money to spare- there is one solution – strip off and jump into the freezing Vltava river. You won’t be alone. Close to a hundred Czechs see the New Year in with this particular feat and claim there is no experience to match it. And, as if to prove their point their number grows with every passing year. This year around 150 people are expected to take part in the popular New Year’s swim – among them hardy men and women from Belgium, Germany and Slovakia. The tradition started in 1923 and the only year when it was reportedly virtually impossible to take a swim was in 1946 when temperatures dropped 25 degrees below zero. People with pickaxes broke the ice but in no time at all it had formed again. Well, if global warming continues at the present rate – this adrenalin-ride may not be around for very long – so grab the chance while you have it.

If you can’t handle an adrenalin ride you can at least make a statement by wearing something exceptional on New Year’s Eve. Anyone who attended the hairstyling and make up contest in Jihlava last week will know exactly what I mean. Czech stylists and hairdressers have clearly come a long way from the poodle-perm of the 80s. The Jihlava creations were inspiring, if a little scary. You might have difficulties getting into a car with them, but you will command attention wherever you go. The hairstyles shown were inspired by the four seasons of the year, space, storybook characters, the Orient and the animal world. Among the winners were a good-and-evil creation with the jin-and-jang signs incorporated in the “do”, a peacock creation that would make the bird go pale with envy, a hairstyle with a sailing boat as its centre piece and a hairstyle inspired by the legendary unicorn. That’s what I call making a statement – and as an extra adrenalin boost – you may have to shave your head the next morning. Happy New Year and take care.