January 6, 2018

3234 CHRISTMAS (Czech Republic) - Veselé Vánoce

"Veselé Vánoce a šťastný nový rok" means in Czech language "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!" For many Czechs, December 24 (Štědrý den) is the most enjoyable day of Christmas holidays. Its Czech name literally means "Generous Day", probably for the wealth of food that is traditionally served then. It is also Adam and Eve's name day. The Christmas tree is decorated with traditional ornaments in many households and preparations are made for the most festive dinner of the year.

Christmas Eve is associated with many superstitions. According to one of them, is supposed to fast all day to see the "golden piglet" (zlaté prasátko) in the evening, which brings luck. Dinner is served after sunset and consists of fried carp with potato salad, sometimes preceded by mushroom, sauerkraut or fish soup. A traditional Christmas bread called vánočka (similar to the Jewish challah) used to be a part of the Christmas dinner.

After dinner, everyone around the table may sing Christmas carols, and when a bell is heard they moving to the Christmas tree. By then, presents have been placed under the tree. Czech children believe that Christmas gifts are brought by Baby Jesus (Ježíšek) who comes into the room through the window to leave the presents. Unlike Santa Claus, Baby Jesus is a rather abstract figure with no particular physical image attached to him.

Some people end Christmas Eve by attending the midnight mass (půlnoční mše) at a local church. It usually starts at midnight but some churches hold it earlier, such as at 10 p.m. There can also be a Christmas Mass for children in the afternoon. Czech Republic Christmas stretches over December 25 and 26, which are also referred to as the First and Second Christmas Holidays, or the Christmas Feast (Boží hod vánoční) and St. Stephen's Day (Sv. Štěpán).

About the stamp
The stamp is one of the two of the series Folk Architecture, about which I wrote here.

Czech Christmas (Vánoce) - My Czech Republic

Sender: Eliska / elisovova (postcrossing) CZ-1307168
Sent from Maršov (South Moravia / Czech Republic), on 16.12.2017

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