If any country in the world is home to the Christmas carol, it has to be the Czech Republic. The tradition of carolling goes back centuries, and Czech Christmas music is a wonderfully rich mixture of spiritual, secular, classical and folk traditions. So for this special programme, we take you on a journey into the world of Czech Christmas music. In order to enjoy this programme fully, you need to hear the music. Just click on the “listen” icon. But even if you are not able to listen, you can read a transcript of part of my interview with a person
One of the most traditional elements of any Czech Christmas – hand in hand with Jakub Jan Ryba’s Christmas Mass, golden mistletoe, winter scenes by Josef Lada, and carp and potato salad, are Czech fairytales on film, screened every holiday season on Czech TV. Kids in the West had Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but the Czechs have many, many classics of their own - not animated - but live-action fairy tales which have been loved for generations. In this Special, we look at why film fairytales
Eighty-seven percent of Czechs are planning to spend Christmas Eve at home, suggests a poll carried out for the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes by the SC&C polling agency. Four people is the most common number for Christmas dinner; 28 percent of respondents said they would be enjoying carp and other traditional Czech Christmas foods with three others. One third of Czechs will have a grandparent or other relative over on Christmas Eve, the survey indicates.
Czechs have a reputation for being one of the most atheistic nations in Europe, but when it comes to Christmas, churches are packed. According to a survey conducted by the Median agency, about one quarter of the Czech population will be attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Ruth Fraňková spoke to Tomáš Roule of the Prague Archbishopric and asked him what brings so many Czechs to church at Christmas time.
Meteorologists are forecasting a cold spell, ending several days of mild weather in the Czech Republic. Snow is almost certain to fall in the mountainous areas of the country, but meteorologists are expressing a 70 percent chance of snow falling in Prague on Christmas Eve, something that has become increasingly rare in recent years.
Ten thousand people have signed a petition calling for the preservation of Ježíšek (Baby Jesus) and other Czech Christmas traditions. The petition was started by a group of students who fear Czech children will become confused by the figure of Santa Claus, which has no tradition in this country. A “Save Baby Jesus” demonstration will be held at the Office of the Government next Friday, with some protesters expected to come dressed as snowmen.
An exhibition of traditional Christmas nativity scenes has opened at Prague Castle. It features around four dozen nativity scenes of various ages and made of various materials, including wood, cardboard and gingerbread and was put together by the Spolek českých betlemářů (Czech nativity scene makers association).
The Czech national beverage is unquestionably beer but, more and more Czechs are taking a fancy to quite a different liquid – tea. Not only does the Czech Republic have the highest number of tea rooms per person in Europe; Czechs have recently become the first Europeans to join the prestigious World Tea Union, an association joining tea experts from all over the world.
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