Czech Christmas traditions are many and this one is deeply embedded into the culture of the Czech people and it includes a bottom dwelling freshwater fish called carp or kapr in Czech.
A time-honored tradition of the traditional Czech Christmas feast is to get your carp early which is great because several days before the 24th carp sellers pop up around the country.
The carp sellers (or stalls) consist of several large vats filled with live carp in water. There is a large table where the carb is killed and prepared if you like. But to stay true to the tradition you will want to buy the carp fresh a day or so before and cook it fresh on the 24th. The folks who buy it live quickly take it home, fill up their bathtub and can you guess what happens next?
It will unofficially become the family pet for the days or hours leading up to the traditional Christmas meal. The whole family usually delights in this process, and children and pets are especially fascinated with the floppy fish creating a commotion in the tub.
Today, we are sharing glimpses into personal bathrooms all over the Czech Republic thanks to the magic of Instagram!
(If you are not familiar with how Instagram works – the comments and writing you see attached to each photo belongs to the photo owner and is not ours…)
Of course, cats love this tradition.
Babies and young children are equally fascinated.
Dogs, they love it too.
The poor carp is the only one who is not too fond of the tradition.
Depending on when you get your carp, it can keep the little ones busy for hours, even days, so you can work on your other Christmas preparations.
I always wondered if there are last minute attempts to feed and fatten up the carp before eating it.
Catching it and killing it is the part I would want to avoid.
We’ve always bought fish from the seafood market, already made into fillets.
Of course, watching the pets and kids in action is also a part of the entertainment around the holidays. A quick search on YouTube showed thousands of home videos of carps in tubs and those around them fascinated with their bathtub maneuvers, especially cats!
As you can see, Czechs have a real relationship with these slippery fish. In fact, Christmas and carp go together like a hand and glove.
It does seem to bring families together though, and that is always a good thing!
Look at how happy these two look working in the kitchen together.
And these little ones look so proud!
Carp for Christmas is a Czech tradition, and one which will certainly endure for generations to come.
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We also encourage you to view another post we created, The Carp Fishermen of the Trebon Ponds.
We wish you and those closest to you a very Merry Christmas.