Holidays

Czech people celebrate Christmas every year, beginning with a dinner on December 24. The tables for this dinner can only be set for an even number of guests, because an odd number will bring bad luck. All of the lights in the house must be turned off until the first star comes out, and when it does, the dinner may commence. The first person to leave the table when the meal is finished will be the first person to die that year - this is why everyone must stand up at the same time.

Easter, or "Velikonoce" (meaning "great nights"), is a very cheerful and lighthearted holiday in the Czech Republic. Red is a very commonly worn color during this time, because it symbolizes joy, health, happiness, and new life that comes with spring. Families decorate Easter eggs elaborately together. Another Easter tradition is the whipping of other's legs with the pomlázka, or willow twigs. Willow twigs are braided and painted with bright colours and then are used by young boys to beat the back of girls' legs. This long-standing tradition is thought to bring health and youth to young girls.

1 January is holiday New Year. After a late morning start the main meal of the day is prepared which should include pork for good luck and lentils for prosperity in the new year. It's bad luck to eat fish, your luck could swim away or poultry, your luck could fly away.

January 6 is the Feast of the Three Kings. In many Czech and Slovak villages, boys dress up as the three wise men "Kaspar, Balthazar and Melchior". With a piece of chalk blessed by the village priest the boys write K + B + M above the doorways on a home. Which brings blessings on that home and its family for a year. The chalk letters should never be cleaned off, but only replaced the next year. This is also usually the day the Christmas tree is taken down.