If someone told you that there is a famous poem about Christmas Eve you’d probably think that it must be some warm story about a beautiful snowy Christmas. If that’s the case then I have to disappoint you. The poem “Christmas Eve” (“Štědrý den” in Czech) was written by K. J. Erben, and it’s a dark tale about foretelling the future on Christmas eve. But don’t worry, the actual tradition is much less gloomy.
As some of you surely know, “Good King Wenceslas” is a popular British Victorian carol. Whether you have already known this fact or just now learnt about it, you are probably wondering what it has to do with Czech Christmas. Truth be told, this carol is not sung in the Czech Republic, yet there is a significant connection to the country’s history.
There are many beautiful Czech carols but only very few of them have such an interesting story behind them as the carol Narodil se Kristus Pán. To be honest, it is usually because most of them are folk carols which means that their (hi)story is difficult to trace. Narodil se Kristus Pán is, however, an exception to this rule. There are actually some facts about this particular song that even Czechs are often completely unaware of.
There are many popular Christmas pastries, desserts, and sweets to chose from when celebrating Christmas in the Czech Republic. One of them is Vanilla Crescents, vanilkové rohlíčky in Czech. When baked well, they basically melt in your mouth – almost like a piece of cloud. But to bake them to be this perfect is quite tricky. So what does one have to do to achieve that level of perfection?
Carols are an essential part of Christmas and there are some which are popular in every country where Christmas is celebrated. Everyone knows, for example, Silent Night or Jingle Bells. However, different countries also have their own popular carols that are sung along with these two and the Czech Republic is no exception. One of the most popular ones is Chtíc, aby spal – a baroque carol composed by Adam Václav Michna z Otradovic and this year you can sing it with us!
Countless traditions come with Christmas. Do you know what is the most popular advent holiday in the Czech Republic? Saint Nicholas Day (Svatý Mikuláš) in Czech – the charming tradition of St. Nicholas falls on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, December 5. It is one of the few originally folk traditions in our country that has survived to this day. Did you know about St. Nicholas?
Christmas is supposed to be the part of the year when people spend time with their families and loved ones. But what about those people who are alone? What are they supposed to do? Lie in bed wearing festive pajamas the whole day and munch on some sweets and junk food while watching Netflix; basically giving up on their life? Well, it’s a solution too, however, there is something else they can do. It won’t change the person’s dire situation but it will at least help them find out if the next year will be better. And for some of us, that’s definitely something! But what does it have to do with st. Barbara’s day?
Christmas wreaths are a common part of Christmas celebrations in most countries, but do you know what each of the four candles symbolizes? Can there actually be more than four candles? Where did this tradition come from? Or how you can make your own advent wreath? Don’t worry, all of these questions will be answered in this article.
Are you a passionate reader? We have a tip for a newly launched book Women’s Voices in Rowing written by a former Czech athlete! In this book, voices of world-renowned female rowers emerge to fight for diversity and sportsmanship. The book responds to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 that will be the most gender-balanced Olympic Games in history – with an expected 48.8 percent of women’s participation in all sports.