Christmas in the Czech Republic
During the evening of the 5th December, children are very excited and watch for St. Nicholas (Svatý Mikuláš) to arrive. He normally is accompanied by one or more angels and one or more devils. He asks the children if they've been good all year and also asks them to sing a song or recite a poem, and gives them a basket of presents (often containing chocolate and fruit). The basket normally contains small present similar to the stockings that children receive in the UK on Christmas day. The main presents are often opened on Christmas eve, during the evening.
In the Czech language Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce'. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.
The main celebrations are on Christmas Eve. Some people fast during Christmas Eve in the hope that they will see a vision of 'the golden pig' appear on the wall before dinner! This is meant to be a sign of good luck!
The Czech traditional Christmas dinner is eaten during the evening of Christmas Eve. The meal often consists of fish soup (made of carp), and fried carp with potato salad.
Ježíšek 'Little Jesus' (the Czech version of Santa Claus) brings presents during the Christmas Eve dinner and leaves them under the Christmas Tree. He rings a bell right before he leaves. The presents are normally opened right after dinner. Religious families also usually sing Christmas carols by the tree, and go to church either at midnight or on Christmas Day.
There's a superstition in the Czech Republic that says if you throw a shoe over your shoulder on Christmas day, if the toe points towards the door, you will be married soon!