People in the Czech Republic made 42.7 million calls from their mobile phones on Christmas Eve, the Czech News Agency wrote on Friday, citing data released by mobile phone operators. It is about three percent less than last year, which saw a record of 44 million calls for one day. The number of text messages sent over Christmas Eve went down for the second consecutive year to 74.3 million, while the number of MMSes saw a record of 1.17 million.
Politicians were handing out free fish soup in the centre of Prague on Christmas Eve. Scores of people formed a long queue on the city's Old Town Square to receive the soup from Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová, dressed in a chef's apron, who was assisted by ANO Party leader and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and other councilors. Some three thousand portions of the soup, which for many Czechs is the first course of Christmas dinner, were prepared this year. Several other districts of Prague, including Vršovice, also joined the tradition this year.
In this special Christmas programme on Radio Prague we are going to be looking at traditional Czech Christmas meals. Later on yours truly will be making his take on the classic Czech-style potato salad. But first, I am joined in the studio by Ladislav Provaan of the Gastronomy Museum, who is an expert in all things culinary.
Music is an essential part of the unique Christmas atmosphere. Along with the scent of frankincense and spices, fried carp on the Christmas Eve table, the candles, baubles and mistletoe – traditional music is what makes Czech Christmas complete. Besides Advent and Christmas church music, including the “Czech Christmas Mass” by Jakub Jan Ryba, the local Christmas musical heritage also abounds in folk songs and carols.
Tanks of live carp are currently to be seen on streets around the Czech Republic, with some Czechs taking the traditional Christmas food home alive and others having them butchered on the spot. Not everybody approves of the custom and animal rights activists have been staging dramatic protests against a practice they regard as extremely cruel.
Some 36 percent of Czechs associate Christmas with visiting a church, which is something they do even if they do not regard themselves as Christian, suggests a survey by the STEM agency released on Tuesday. In 1995 some 45 percent of Czechs said that Christmas was for them connected with going to church. Roughly eight percent of Czechs attend a church at least once a month, the new poll indicates.
The weather in the Czech Republic should remain mild until the end of the year, the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute said in a regular monthly forecast issued on Saturday. Daytime temperatures in the coming week will reach up to 10 degrees Celsius with regular winter weather expected at the beginning of January. The highest levels of precipitation in the next four weeks can be expected at Christmas, the forecasters said.
Dreams of a white Christmas in the Czech Republic look like they will remain just that. Weather forecasters in their first appraisal have given the chances of snow on Christmas Day at just 20 percent. Chances of snow on higher ground are estimated at around 20 to 40 percent higher. In the past five years the Christmas temperatures have often hovered above freezing point. The last Prague Christmas with snow was 2010.
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