Czech culture is rich in customs and superstitions and there are hundreds of those related to Christmas.
So, here are some of them.
- No lights should be lit in the house before the first star comes out.
- The table should be set for an even number of guests as an odd number brings bad luck or death. In order to even the number of guests an extra plate can be used.
- The legs of the table can be tied with a rope to protect the house from thieves and burglars in the coming year.
- No one should seat with their back to the door.
- Christmas dinner should consist of nine courses including soup, bread with honey, carp, potato salad, fruit, dessert and other foods.
- No alcohol should be served on Christmas Eve.
- No one should ever get up from the Christmas table before dinner is finished. Doing so brings bad luck and death in the family.
- Everyone should finish their dinner and leave nothing on the plate.
- The first person to leave the table after dinner will be the first one to die in the coming year – that is why everyone should get up from the table at the same time.
- Any leftovers from dinner should be buried around the trees to ensure they will bear lots of fruit.
- All household animals should be fed after dinner so that no one goes hungry on Christmas Eve.
The foretelling of the future and predicting the well-being of the family in the coming year is connected with many popular Christmas customs. Here are some of the most common ones.
- The floating of walnut shells. Little boats are made out of empty walnut shells and each family member places a little burning candle into a shell. Everyone’s shells are then floated on a bowl of water. If the shell makes it across the bowl, its owner will live a long healthy life. A shell that sinks brings bad luck to the owner.
- Pouring of lead. A piece of lead is melted over fire and then poured into a container of water. The resulting shape will tell the person’s destiny.
- Cutting of the apple. Every person present at the table cuts an apple in half. Then both halves are shown to everyone and if the core is shaped as a star it means that everyone will get together next year in happiness and wealth.
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