In what has become an annual tradition, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and
other City Hall officials served carp soup to the public on Prague’s Old
Town Square on Monday.
Originally the soup, which is part of the traditional Christmas meal, was intended for the homeless, but with growing interest from the public it became something of a social event with scores of people turning up to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.
Carp soup and other Christmas specialties will also be served on Old Town Square on December 24 between 11am and 1pm and at the bottom end of Wenceslas Square at midday.
Gene Deitch, who turns 95 next month, is by some distance the US citizen longest resident in Prague. Deitch had run a successful animation studio in New York prior to the fateful meeting in 1959 with his future wife Zdenka that led him to settle in Prague soon after. From behind the Iron Curtain, he produced an Oscar-winning animated short, as well as directing Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons for the American market.
One of the many successful exhibitions marking the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia is Mini Wonders, which explores the evolution of Czech toy design over the past century. The iconic Czech toys, including the inflatable animal-shaped seats produced by the company Fatra, have already been shown at Czech centres in Tokyo, Jerusalem, London and Prague, and will now travel to Moscow, Warsaw and Bratislava.
Czech fisheries are gearing up for the annual Christmas carp sales around the country, when sales of home-bred carp go through the roof due to the traditional Czech Christmas dinner of fried carp and potato salad. Although carp makes up for close to 90 percent of the fresh water fish bred in the Czech Republic many Czechs only ever eat it once a year- the rest is sold abroad.
Fishermen in Třeboň, south Moravia say they expect a harvest of around 2,300 tonnes of fish this year. The ceremonial launch of three days of harvesting began on Friday morning at the largest Czech fish pond Rožmberk, which is near Třeboň. The town is the country’s most famous centre for the production of carp, which is traditionally eaten by Czechs for Christmas dinner. This volume of fish expected this year is regarded as average.
Scientists from the Faculty of Fisheries and Water Protection at the University of South Bohemia have successfully bred a new breed of carp – the most common fish in Czech rivers and ponds. The Amur Mirror Carp is the first new fish breed created in the Czech Republic in more than twenty years and as its name suggests, it is related to a carp living in the remote Amur River in Asia.
In this special Christmas programme on Radio Prague we are going to be looking at traditional Czech Christmas meals. Later on yours truly will be making his take on the classic Czech-style potato salad. But first, I am joined in the studio by Ladislav Provaan of the Gastronomy Museum, who is an expert in all things culinary.
Tanks of live carp are currently to be seen on streets around the Czech Republic, with some Czechs taking the traditional Christmas food home alive and others having them butchered on the spot. Not everybody approves of the custom and animal rights activists have been staging dramatic protests against a practice they regard as extremely cruel.