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Showing posts from December, 2012

Štědrý Večer 2012

Since I was a teenager, my parents have hosted dinner on Štědrý večer (Christmas Eve) Texas-Czech style. I could write a small book about this meal, but will settle for this post. The meal is the same one my mother ate when she was growing up (and we went to my grandmother's for when I was younger) and many of the dishes are, in fact, the same or similar to those her mother ate when she was growing up. We are, as a family, very proud of this meal, since my mother is the only one of her seven siblings who has carried on the culinary traditions. We have the same dishes every year; most have some Czech background.

To begin the meal, we have a meatless soup that traditionally has every foodstuff available at the time in it to ask the universe for a good harvest for all crops in the coming year... vegetables dried and fresh, legumes, a grain. In our house, the soup has evolved into a peppery vegetable soup with "homemade" noodles. This year, the soup was thick with potatoes…

Christmas Markets in West/Prague

There are so many things going on this month that I could write about from Czech organization Christmas parties to food at family gatherings. But because there's so much going on, I have little time to write. Trying to create Christmas memories for two boys and juggle a full time job and time-consuming hobbies is really bearing down on me this year. I'm going to do several posts in the next two weeks that may have lots of photos but less in-depth writing. This is the first.

In 2008, my mother, brother and I traveled to the Czech Republic in December to visit relatives and friends and to shop the Prague Christmas markets. The market on the Old Town Square was spectacular, made more so because we were there on the eve of St. Nicholas Day. The photo above is an outdoor stage where there were singing groups, bands and skits.  Below is a photo of a man in the square dressed as an unofficial St. Nicholas. Besides the kiosks with traditional food (palacinky, sausages, cookies, mulle…

St. Nicholas Day and Tangerines

Saint Nicholas will be coming to visit my two boys this week on December 6th... the day designated by the Catholic Church to honor the saint who is the patron of children. In many European countries (including the Czech Republic,) children hang their stocking or place shoes by the fireplace the night of December 5th, knowing they'll be filled overnight with small treats by St. Nick.

Growing up, I always felt the celebration of this holiday was unique to Texas Czechs. I never met another child who knew what it was and, as an adult, only other Texas Czechs seem to know about it. And usually those adults I've met who do know it only have vague memories of the meaning and the activities surrounding it. That's more interesting when you consider that the name Santa Claus evolved from Sinterklaas, a short form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas.) There are a few places in the state that have public events for the holiday, including the Czech Center Museum Houston which hos…