Showing posts from December, 2010

Czech TV show about our church's Christmas service

"Narodilse Kristus Pan"--"Jesus Christ is born")! Czech television recorded our Christmas Day service at the United Methodist Church in Strasnice (Praha 10). It was exciting to be filmed.

Christmas Day

The Czechs go all-out for Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day is low-key,. We went to church at the United Methodist Church on Vilova street, where Czech television crews were broadcasting the service. It was a lovely service. Here's a link to the video.

Then we took our friend Grace out for lunch. Finding a restaurant open was a little challenge: we found one nearby, on namesti Miru.

Christmas at the Bartovis

We had a Czech family Christmas with our friends Jirina and Vilda. In the afternoon, we met with some friends at their flat and sang Christmas carols in Czech. I got some compliments on my Czech pronunciation (my strong suit in Czech, as I can't conjugate verbs or form the proper cases of nouns and adjectives. But I can read aloud!).

We had dinner in the evening. Carp soup, potato salad and fried carp comprise the traditional Czech meal. We then had cookies while the presents were distributed from under the tree, where "Jezicek" (little Jesus) put them. No Santa Claus on Christmas here!

We had fun opening presents! The neighbor from across the hall joined us.
What a wonderful Christmas we had!

White Christmas

The radio announcer just told us we'll have a White Christmas. No surprise--we've had snow on the ground for 3 weeks. I am delighted! The snow brings out a special energy in me.

Old Town Square at night

Last night Jarda and I went to a Christmas concert at San Salvator Church, courtesy of our lovely friend Jirina. Afterward we went through the Christmas market at Old Town Square.

It was cold!

The decorations were beautiful. We loved the life-size creche (nativity scene).

Prague at Christmas is truly a fairy-tale come true!

Veselé Vánoce!

Last night was my last Czech lesson till after Christmas. Our teacher gave us some expressions and customs for having a Czech Christmas (Veselé Vánoce!)

Here are a few customs:

1. A piece of lead is melted over fire and then poured into a container of water. The resulting shape will tell the pourer's destiny (according to my teacher and my husband, this custom is dying out, as it's dangerous and difficult to do).

2. The Cutting of the Apple: After Christmas dinner, every person present at the table cuts an apple in half (crosswise, from the stem down). Both halves are shown to everyone around the table. If the core is shaped as a star, it means that everyone will get together next year in happiness and health. A four-pointed cross is a bad omen and means that someone at the table will fall ill or die within a year. (I've never seen this; I found is on a website. But it's a lot easier than the lead thing).
3. In the Czech Republic, there is no Santa Claus. Instead there …

Just two hours by train from Prague!

Jarda and I just returned from Bad Schandau, a German resort town on the way to Dresden. The original intent was to use the town as a base, traveling from there to Dresden for day trips. But Bad Schandau was so peaceful and friendly that we stayed there all week.

It's one of Prague's main charms that it's so easy to get out of town! Kaja drove us there and stayed one night, then we took the train back. Both going there and coming back were fun and interesting rides.
The town is small, a summer spa town that's the gateway to the "Saxon Switzerland" national park that's half in Germany, half in Czech Republic. We ahd so much fun there that we're already planning our next trip.

Getting ready for Christmas.

Not turkey, but carp. Czechs eat carp for Christmas Eve dinner, the big celebration meal. They buy the carp live on the street, take it home, put it in the bathtub and knock it in the head when they're ready to cook it. Or they let the man at the sidewalk carp stand knock it in the head when they buy it and take it home ready-to-cook.

Winter Wonderland

It's been snowing off and on since Saturday night. The first major snowfall was only a couple of inches, and turned into slush quickly. Then it froze and was tough to walk on. But today we got at least 4 inches of beautiful crystalline snow, the powdered sugar kind. Klaus and I took a walk around the block. He was as frisky as a puppy. We enjoyed the brisk air (even the wind that blew snow into our eyes) and the cheerful Christmas atmosphere. People on the streets here are positively merry in the lovely, pristine snow.