I’ve had two expat Christmas parties in Prague and soon I’ll be able to enjoy Christmas with my father and grandma.
However, the 2017 party was cool because we also shared it with non-expats, some Czechs.
One Czech has been dating a Canadian for years and is familiar with Northamerican Christmas, but for the other 3 Czechs, this was new.
One big difference was that Czechs have Carp, the fish, instead of a land animal like North America (turkey, ham, etc.)
One Czech woman asked me what stuffing was and was perplexed by it until she tried it and then loved it.
Brownies being a more Northamerican dessert, I’m used to it being cut into squares.
This brownie was made in a round cake pan and I ended up cutting it like a pie, which was very weird for me, but it was definitely delicious!
To make it non-traditional even more, I brought Filipino lumpias (like spring roll, but with meat) for appetizers. They were surprisingly a huge success so much that we could barely eat the main dishes.
The one Czech couple made some mulled wine, which was absolutely delicious.
It was also perfect because it snowed on the day of the party. I hope it snows on the actual day of Christmas!
A different thing about Czech Christmas is that they celebrate it on the 24th of December instead of 25th like in North America. However, the 25th and 26th are state holidays as well. Unlike German speaking countries, grocery stores and other major shopping stores are open on Sundays and most holidays. However, with Christmas, store hours are really limited or are closed completely depending on the day. For example, on the 24th and 25th everything is closed while the 23rd and 26th have limited hours.
It really makes me happy that people, who are far from home, or who have friends that are far from home, gather together in order to celebrate this day. I would say most of us, if not all of us, at this dinner are not religious, but Christmas is like Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate love and family and friends and reflect on the end of the year before celebrating the New Years.
There is definitely a camaraderie amongst those living abroad no matter where they are from originally. Myself, identifying more as American, with two Canadians from different parts of Canada, and 4 Czechs made the dinner party pretty diverse in background. We went around talking about our own family traditions and country traditions.
With so many avenues to find other expats in this day and age of the internet, no one doesn’t have to be alone if they don’t want to when they are abroad.
From Prague, Czech Republic to your own home, I wish you a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Years!