Czech fisheries are gearing up for the annual Christmas carp sales around the country, when sales of home-bred carp go through the roof due to the traditional Czech Christmas dinner of fried carp and potato salad. Although carp makes up for close to 90 percent of the fresh water fish bred in the Czech Republic many Czechs only ever eat it once a year- the rest is sold abroad.
Two percent of Czechs, mostly senior citizens, do not celebrate Christmas at all and three percent only from time to time, according to a survey carried out by GfK market research institute. Among the most common Christmas custom held by Czechs is visiting relatives, decorating the Christmas tree or singing Christmas carols. This year, some 31 percent of people plan to go to the Midnight Mass, the survey suggests. Some eight percent of people plan to spend more than 10,000 crowns on Christmas gifts this year.
Boy and Girl Scouts brought a modern-day symbol of Christmas to the Czech Republic on Saturday in keeping with a tradition begun in the 1980s in neighbouring Austria, the Czech News Agency reported. The program was inaugurated in Austria in 1986 as part of a charitable relief mission for handicapped children and people in need. The light was transported to Brno using several lanterns and will again be spread throughout the Czech Republic over the course of the Christmas holidays, organisers confirmed. Members of the public brought their own lanterns to Brno's train station in order to light them from the flame.
American news broadcaster CNN has included Prague’s Christmas markets on a list of the 10 best in the world, citing traditional markets on the city’s Old Town and Wenceslas Squares. The article rated favourably Czech beer and sausage as well as the opening times at both markets, saying they remained open throughout the Christmas period. Other markets included in the piece included ones in Vienna, Venice or Copenhagen. The only North American Christmas market to make the list was Montreal’s.
Thousands of people gathered on Prague`s Old Town Square on Saturday evening to watch the lighting of the traditional Christmas tree. The 22-metre spruce was felled in the region of Hradec Králové and will adorn the historic square until January 6. The tree-lighting ceremony also launched the city`s annual Christmas markets.
Czech shopping centres and major retail chains are taking part this year in so-called Black Friday sales for the first time. One Prague shopping centre said 60 outlets were taking part by offering reductions of up to 50 percent on previous prices. Shopping centres outside Prague also say they will take part. Up till now it was mostly e-shops that signed up to the sales. Black Friday is an import from the United States and is regarded as the start of the pre-Christmas shopping season.
The Czech jewellery and glass industry is still inextricably linked with the north Bohemian city of Jablonec nad Nisou although the business has gone through a tough couple of decades with the workforce in the sector shrinking to around a third of what is was 20 years ago. It now shows confident signs of revival.
Czech tradespeople are up in arms over the increasing rivalry that plumbers, painters and electricians are getting from non-professionals –jacks-of- all trades who make a living by helping out with whatever needs to be done around the house. The “hodinový manžel” - or husband for an hour, as they are called in Czech –has become a new phenomenon in the Czech economy and hundreds of men have turned it into a profitable business.
Many Czechs will be observing folk traditions on Easter Monday. Particularly in rural areas and smaller towns, people will sing Easter carols and symbolically "whip" girls and women with willow switches, a custom said to ensure fertility. Easter Monday also signals the end of Lent and traditional foods with symbolic meaning are consumed.
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