Christmas carp, but no liquid lead
- About two-thirds of the Slovak households plan to serve carp for Christmas Eve dinner, a current survey shows, although it is a relative newcomer as a Christmas tradition. Its popularity spread slowly around Central Europe when the large fish ponds in southern Bohemia began to yield lots of carp and marketers stepped in during the final decades of the Habsburg monarchy. About the same percentage plan to listen to carols, some even to sing them.
The average Slovak household has earmarked $315 for Christmas food and decorations this year -- with unexpectedly more lavishness than their former Czech fellow countrymen, who're planning to spend $210 although there is little difference between the two nations' purchasing power with the Czechs being somewhat better off <http://www.pitt.edu/~votruba/qsonhist/regionalwealthcentraleurope.html>.
About $13 of the $315 will be for the Christmas tree, $58 for decorations and incidentals, $178 for food, $34 for pop, and $32 for liquor.
About 44 percent Slovaks will go to Christmas Mass, and when asked about some of the better known Christmas customs -- nutshell floating, lead pouring -- most confirmed they heard of them, but hardly anyone was planning to do that.