By Christine Natalia

Heyho! I hope everyone reading this doodly story of mine had a stunning Christmas. Back in my homeland, Christmas is utterly enlivened with our longtime knowledge of Santa Claus, huge and glamorous Christmas trees showed off in malls, the casual crowds hanging out and causing “macet” in the streets, and somewhat Christmas sales. LOL. Oh well oh well, I’m not gonna lie but I kinda miss the euphoria.

Ready for a Christmas dinner?
Ready for a Christmas dinner?

So let me get this straight firstly. I used to think that Santa Claus was really carried in Europe. Once I wondered if that Santa tale was admitted as well, but the answer is NO. They refuse to believe in Santa Claus because it was all made up in the USA. Long story short, Santa Claus was firstly commercialized in Coca Cola commercial. Yes I hear ya! The truth is all they believe is the appearance of St. Nicholas who was honestly a priest many decades ago. There is a special day of St. Nicholas or Mikuláš (Czech version of St. Nicholas) which happens on the 6th of December. The night before the 6th, this St. Nicholas wanders around town jingling bell with an angel (Andělé) and a devil (Čert), mostly to scare kids. By this act, the kids then believe that they must have good deeds until Christmas in order to be rewarded happiness.

Santa must have very busy...
Santa must have been very busy…

Prior to Christmas eve, people are occupied with the Christmas spree to spoil their loved ones. I enjoyed the fun! Fyi, a commonly typical Czech one to give is a pair of socks. As well, seen in every square of town, there is always a Christmas market filled with stalls selling hot wines, hot Christmas punch (normally with apple), traditional cakes, and sausages. Beautified with a huge and glamorous Christmas tree like in Jakarta  Very beautiful indeed. I constantly love this season of the year.

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Once the Christmas days happen (the 24th- 26th ), most of the towns are shut down (think Lebaran week) and it feels like dead. People gather with their families at home, either coming back to their hometown for their parents or staying with their loved ones at home. Generally, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th here. The tradition of the day is eating Christmas bread (Vánočka) in the morning, preparing Christmas cookies, decorating the tree, and preparing Christmas dinner. People who have kids around sometimes do a more particular tradition where they must starve after the breakfast until dinner for a special pig to come bring some luck. LOL. That’s what they call “the Golden Pig”. Dinner time, the whole family members gather in the dining room ready for carp fish soup as a starter and schnitzel carp served with potato salad as the main course.

Christmas Market at night
Christmas Market at night

YES! It’s my favorite again! All the members of the family but the mother aren’t allowed to leave the table during the dinner. So the mother serves everything. It’s said that once you leave the table, you’ll cause bad luck for the family. Dinner set, the mother then cut an apple to see if there’s a star sign in the middle of the line. If yes, the family will carry some luck for the whole upcoming year. Doesn’t that sound interesting to you? The family then has some chit chat eating the Christmas cookies as their dessert. All the sudden, the father disappears and secretly jingles the bell as a sign that the little Christ (Ježišek) is coming over and hurling the gifts underneath the Christmas tree. Kids here would believe that. No one would admit who the giver is but they only say it’s from the little Christ. Gifts are handed over per each based on whose name is written on. Afterwards, the taker must open the gift in front of everyone and show what they got. Apart from socks, they always receive shower gel and shampoo. I got fantastic ones for Christmas. What about you?
At the end, doesn’t the tradition here sound like a fairytale to you?

Giant Christmas Tree in Prague
Giant Christmas Tree in Prague.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!