Dave was recently asked to film a short clip for one of our supporting churches who is preparing now for their Christmas program here in the States. Good for them, planning ahead!
He'll go there later this week to film, but they asked us in advance what they could use as a backdrop to show "Christmas in Czech". That got me to thinking about what is unique in our part of the world at Christmastime.
1. The Prague Christmas Market I am not kidding - it really looks like this (though that's not my photo, but rather one I found on the internet).
It is so special to be there in person at Christmastime. I love all the cheery sights, sounds and smells that exude from that spot in Old Town square. If you ever get a chance, go!
2. Carp in vats Yes, I'd say this is pretty unique, and definitely not something you see in the United States! Carp farms raise the fish and then deliver them to stores and markets all over the country in December. They're bought, sometimes kept alive in the bathtub (for kids' enjoyment!), then prepared for Christmas Eve dinner. It's the most traditional Christmas meal, served along with potato salad!
3. Josef Lada prints He is a famous Czech artist and writer, and his iconic prints are often seen around Christmastime. I love how he captured something of Christmas past in Czech. All of his prints are lovely.
4. Czech Christmas cookies I remember our first Christmas in Czech, receiving these types of cookies from friends. I'd never seen most of them in my life! But my mouth waters just looking at that picture now. No Christmas is complete without these beautiful treats anymore. I'm already looking forward to enjoying that tradition again this year.
5. Perníky And while I'm on the subject of cookies .... Maybe there are other countries that make beautifully decorated gingerbread cookies, but I have to say, perníky, as they're known in Czech, are amazing! One part of me never wants to eat them because I know how much time it takes to decorate each one. And on the other hand, they are SO good that you can't help yourself!
6. Apples Okay, so I know apples are not unique to Christmas! But before I moved to Czech there are two things I'd never seen: the cutting of apples to look at the star inside (if you get the five point star it means health and happiness in the coming year!) and the branding of apples with the cool star image. That tradition has been more recent, but for some reason when I see them in the grocery store like that, it makes me smile!
While there are many more traditions and images that symbolize a Czech Christmas, the last one for today is simply the greeting at Christmastime: Veselé Vánoce! "Happy Christmas"!
Only ten weeks until it's here!