So This is Christmas

Christmas abroad is an odd thing.  For one, it doesn’t REMOTELY feel like it should be Christmas.  We’ve had a long eight-month string of Saturdays and we often have a difficult time figuring out what day of the WEEK it is, let alone a major holiday.

Christmas is a big holiday for the Czechs just as it is at home.  It feels much less commercial here, and that may have to do with the almost complete absence of Santa Claus.  Oh, Saint Nicholas is around…as an envoy at a traditional dinner on 5th December (accompanied by an angel and devil) to quiz children as to whether they’ve been good or not and provides small treats (sweets or fruit) or other such things (potatoes, coal) for bad kiddies.  But he’s not really tied into Christmas itself.   And you’ll be hard pressed to even see advertising feature the jolly one; most Czechs despise him.
There is a Christmas tree, and it is elaborately decorated.  Presents are put under the tree, but they are not from Santa; they are from Jesizek, or Baby Jesus.  He has no visual representation, as his delivery is silent.  He doesn’t arrive by chimney, either; in fact, the method in which he delivers presents is considered a mystery.  Christmas trees are arguably the most visual of Christmas symbols throughout Prague, the most famous being the one in Old Town Square…but most squares throughout the city have one of their own.
The traditional Christmas meal here is carp and is served on Christmas Eve.  All over town you can see tubs full of the fish, which people buy fresh, take home, and cook up.  A common tradition says that if you put a scale of the fish beneath your plate, you’ll have enough money in the coming year.  And, similarly to the Thanksgiving turkey, some families give their carp a reprieve and release it into a local pond on Christmas.
We plan on spending our Christmas with our new flat mates and some fellow ex-pat friends here in Prague.  We miss you all very much and thank you all for your kindness, interest, and support over these last eight months.  From Rhys and Indi, have a very Merry Christmas!!

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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