Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [TexasCzechs] Mikulas tradition

Expand Messages
  • Loretta and David
    The tradition of  Svaty Mikulas   St. Nicholas Day  had been observed by our family up throught the 1950 s. It was on the eve of  the 6th of December, 
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 5, 2000
    • 0 Attachment
      The tradition of  " Svaty Mikulas"  St. Nicholas Day  had been observed by our family up throught the 1950's. It was on the eve of  the 6th of December,  which the feast of St. Nicholas on the Roman Catholic Canlender. On this evening all the children would set out a plate with cookies, nuts, an apple one orange and a glass of milk. Usually any gift which we thought St. Nick might like. We would pray that St. Nicholas would visit our home and find in his heart that we were good boys and girls and repay us with small gifts. That morning we always got up early to see the what he had left for us. In some cases if we had misbehaved the day before we often found a  small limb from a peach or plum tree with a pretty red bow (a switch) but we were never so bad that we did not receive any goodies on our plate.

      The next holy day was December 8, The feast of the Immaculate Conception, this also was a day when we awaited the coming of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this date we would receive articles such as Holy Cards, a rosary, maybe a prayerbook, etc.....

      The tradition of fish for Christmas Eve. Is this a tradition orginated in the Czech lands or is based on tradition of the Roman Catholic Church? Those that remember when we Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Friday, we were also to fast from meat on the eve of every Holy Day. This was a law of the Church. I'm not sure but some of the other denominations also observed this practice. This was our fish day or vegetable soup etc.... We ate fish on Friday and also on the eve of Holydays and Ash Wednesday. I wonder if this tradition of eating fish did not evolve from this practice?

      Here is another tradition someone out there might remember. On Christmas Eve day if you eat you will not see the "Golden Pig" Has anyone out there remember seeing the golden pig. Does anyone remember what had to be done and why? I know that we always had to fast so many hours before receiving Holy Communion. On Christmas Eve we always went to Midnite Mass and received Holy Communion. We always ate a evening meal that day, and Grandma always placed a little money under her plate for good luck, so in order to receive communion at midnite mass we had to abstain from food the remainder of the evening until midnite. With so many goodies around it was very difficult for the young ones to stay out of the kitchen. My reasoning is that we were promised to see the Golden Pig, if we did not snack on goodies before midnite Mass so we could receive Communion. Why a Golden Pig? Beats me. Anyone out there have the answer?

      David B.
       
       
       
       

      CShep10511@... wrote:

      Thanks for this info.  My mother tells exactly this same story of this
      tradition that was still celebrated  as she was a child.  Too bad some of
      these wonderful traditions had not been continued with the 2nd and 3rd
      generation Czech-Americans.

      I am happy to say we have continued to celebrate a European Christmas and
      Santa comes on our house on Christmas Eve. We also continue the tradition of
      having a fish fry (ryby) on Christmas Eve as do many of our Czech family in
      Europe.

      Happy Holidays.

      Connie

      To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
       
       

    • CShep10511@aol.com
      My Mother said they used to up their shoes just outside the door hoping for Saint Mikulas to leave them a special treat. This was usually fruit and nuts. She
      Message 2 of 11 , Dec 6, 2000
      • 0 Attachment
        My Mother said they used to up their shoes just outside the door hoping for
        Saint Mikulas to leave them a special treat. This was usually fruit and nuts.
        She said this was almost more important than Christmas.

        Connie

        Researching: HEJL, HOLUB, MENSIK AND NORS
      • Lois Petter Pereira
        I grew up with Mikulas but not this story. I wonder if it has to do with what religion you are. I am attaching the story of Mikulas that my mother was told by
        Message 3 of 11 , Dec 9, 2000
        • 0 Attachment
          I grew up with Mikulas but not this story. I wonder if it has to do with what religion you are. I am attaching the story of Mikulas that my mother was told by her mother.
           

          December 6, the Feast of Saint Nickolas
          by Olga Susil Petter Jankowiak
           

           This Saint Nickolas was a much revered saint of the Czech people.  My
          parents told us of the custom of four people in different dress who went from house
          to house. One was Saint Nickolas, one an angel, one the devil and the fourth I do not
          remember. On the eve of St. Nickolas these people would call on people of the parish
          that had children living there.

           Usually the mothers prepared the evening meal early so that the children
          would be fed and then dressed neatly for St. Nickolas’ visit.  As a child Mama said
          she was always so afraid waiting for a knock on the door.  Her father let the strange
          people in.  First came  St. Nickolas followed by the Angel dressed in a beautiful
          white robe with a golden halo over his head, then the devil marched in dressed all in
          black rattling chains and making eerie noises.  The children stood in line and one by
          one approached St. Nickolas.  He asked them to recite the Our Father, Hail Mary,
          etc.  When each child was finished they received a blessing and were told to place
          empty bowls on the table.  The next morning they awoke and ran to see each bowl
          filled with nuts, candy and fruit.

            Daddy told me his story regarding this feast. There was a boy in the
          neighborhood who was around 12 years old.  He got a big kick out of teasing the
          younger children about how foolish they were to believe in St. Nickolas.  That St.
          Nickolas was only a man dressed like him and the devil is a big joke too. He said he
          for one wouldn’t be scared of him.  Daddy, being one of the smaller children, told
          his father of this boy boasting of not being afraid of the devil.  My grandfather told
          the boy’s father about it so they arranged to meet at my daddy’s house.  When they
          came the boy still said he was not afraid and just then there was  a knock at the
          door.  It opens and the devil came in first and says to the boy “What’s this I hear
          you are so brave and not afraid of me?  See these chains?”  The boy was horrified
          and fell on his knees before the devil and pleaded “Holy devil, I was only joking. I
          won’t say it any more, please, don’t hit me with your chains”. Daddy said it really
          taught the boy a lesson and he never teased anyone again.
           

          darlenbaker@... wrote:

          Hi all !1 thought you would enjoy this:
          It is from my friend Petr in the CR.
           

          Darlene
           

          We celebrate "Mikulas" today. Have you ever heard about him?
          It`s a long time tradition in the CR. Once upon a time were 3 sisters
          which wanted to get married. They were very poor and hadn`t money for
          a wedding. Mikulas was a very kind man in their village and he gave 3
          grouch-bags full of money outside a window in the evening. Small childern
          believe that he walks and gives some stuff every evening on 6. december.
          Mostly candies and chocolate. He`s gotten at a dream element and that`s
          why an angel and a devil comes with him. The devil is for a tiresome child
          and the angel for a kind one.


          To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
           
           

          --
          Lois Petter Pereira
          Researching Ahlhorn, Bokemeyer, Brdusik, Bruntrig, Cordes, Filges, Francis, Garney, Gebauer, Hadac, Hadash, Halla, Hauser, Hoelschel, Kaskie, Maciejeski, Manak, Nauger, Ollre, Orsag, Orsak, Otjen, Papiz, Pavlik, Pereira, Petter, Polasek, Pratka, Psencik, Rada, Rohan, Sablatura, Schaub, Schroeder, Slovack, Susil, Tiemann, Urban, Weiser
           

        • Lois Petter Pereira
          We also continue the European tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. We all gather at Mom s house and do it as a family. We don t have ryba any more
          Message 4 of 11 , Dec 9, 2000
          • 0 Attachment
            We also continue the European tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. We all gather at Mom's house and do it as a family. We don't have ryba any more but a feast of finger foods, sandwiches from ham or turkey and every kind of dessert on earth. This is to prolong the torment of the little ones itching to open the presents. We eat, then we kneel down and pray in front of the tree for people who we have lost or who are not able to be with us. Now, at my house we open gifts Christmas morning. I could not change my husband's mind to do it the right away. After 31 years I guess I never will. I am glad to hear other people are continuing the tradition. I think that is why I like to do genealogy so much because it is a way to pay respect to those who have walked before me. Lois Petter Pereira
             

            CShep10511@... wrote:

            Thanks for this info.  My mother tells exactly this same story of this
            tradition that was still celebrated  as she was a child.  Too bad some of
            these wonderful traditions had not been continued with the 2nd and 3rd
            generation Czech-Americans.

            I am happy to say we have continued to celebrate a European Christmas and
            Santa comes on our house on Christmas Eve. We also continue the tradition of
            having a fish fry (ryby) on Christmas Eve as do many of our Czech family in
            Europe.

            Happy Holidays.

            Connie

            To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
             
             

            --
            Lois Petter Pereira
            Researching Ahlhorn, Bokemeyer, Brdusik, Bruntrig, Cordes, Filges, Francis, Garney, Gebauer, Hadac, Hadash, Halla, Hauser, Hoelschel, Kaskie, Maciejeski, Manak, Nauger, Ollre, Orsag, Orsak, Otjen, Papiz, Pavlik, Pereira, Petter, Polasek, Pratka, Psencik, Rada, Rohan, Sablatura, Schaub, Schroeder, Slovack, Susil, Tiemann, Urban, Weiser
             

          • Lois Petter Pereira
            For years I thought it was basically a Catholic thing. We couldn t eat meat therefore we ate fish but since I ve gotten involved with this egroups and Czech
            Message 5 of 11 , Dec 9, 2000
            • 0 Attachment
              For years I thought it was basically a Catholic thing. We couldn't eat meat therefore we ate fish but since I've gotten involved with this egroups and Czech Cultural Center I find this is not true. The Czechs hold carp dear to their heart. Also it is not the same trash fish, carp that we know, they even have farms to raise them. Every year I go to the CCC and buy a new hand blown ornament from the CR. This past Sept I bought one and it was a carp. It also had something to do with good luck. I don't remember having fish on Christmas Eve but our situation was different. My father died when I was very young so my mohter was a widow with 3 young children. Fish to us was classified as meat and we only had it when we went fishing. Meat was served sparingly since we always had a large garden and we all liked vegetables. See it is good to be poor because we never got all that fat in our diet. Of course now it is too much fat. I am enclosing a story my mother wrote about her Christmas. Mom was born in America.
               

              CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
              by Olga Susil Petter Jankowiak

               Christmas at our house was always the most celebrated holiday of the year.
              Beginning with the first day of advent Mama would dress us for church in somber clothes
              in keeping with the solemn occasion that preceded the joyful one, the birth of baby Jesus.
              I do not remember having an advent wreath but I do remember the whole family knelt
              praying the rosary every night. This was a spiritual part that lasted the length of Advent.

               The preparation of the Christmas feast started a week before Christmas. First my
              brothers and Dad went deep into the woods in search of a tree. There were many trees to
              choose from, but it must be just right, therefore it took a long time. At the same time they
              searched for a tree they would stop under a large pecan tree and gather nuts. Sometimes it
              was a huge sack full. They were to be used for the Christmas baking. The tree was not cut
              that day in order for it to keep it’s wonderful scent it was usually cut a few days later.

               Then came the pecan peeling party where neighbors gathered each night and
              peeled pecans so that chore was quickly done. It was fun especially for the youngsters
              since mama made us hot chocolate along with her many varieties of cookies. The adults
              had hot tea and I believe the men had a drink or two of dad’s whiskey (which he brewed
              but never drank except for medicinal purposes).

               The next day the baking started. Mama and the older girls would prepare the fruits
              that were put in the fruit cakes. There were usually six huge ones. Each one was carefully
              wrapped in cheesecloth that had been soaked in rum and then tightly wrapped in brown
              paper. The cakes were then stored in a cool place. Next came the strudels. Mama sent dad
              to town with the shopping list that included a crate of apples and a crate of oranges. The
              paring of apples was done by mama and the big girls. Being the baby of the family  I
              always felt cheated but was told I could help when I was older. After the strudels were
              baked it was time to bake kolaches. Dozens of sausage ones (klobasniks), prune, poppy
              seed and cottage cheese but I can’t say I had a favorite since I liked them all. They too had
              to be done on a large scale since there were seven children and mom and dad plus the
              many neighbors who dropped in.  After the kolaches were baked, cooled and put away
              there were still a few days left for Mama to get our clothes ready. I was lucky I had a new
              dress every year, being small, it cost less to buy material.

               Then came Christmas eve day, which to me seemed like the longest day of the
              year. All kinds of aromas coming from the kitchen, except for one that I hated, that was
              caraway seed soup. To this day I will not eat it. When all the food was prepared and our
              best tablecloth laid. We set out our Sunday dishes and then it was time to go on the front
              porch and wait for the first star to appear. Absolutely no one ate before the first star, ever.
              I think it was a custom that was followed in Czechoslovakia and my parents kept it in
              America.  Once the star appeared we went inside to eat. The food was brought in. There
              was soup, cheese, bread et cetera but no meat. Meat was not allowed until after midnight
              when the fast ended. Next came platters of all the baked treats that the table could hold.
              The last thing placed in the center of the table was a big bowl of apples. The blessing was
              said and all sat down to eat. I never ate much I was too excited thinking of the presents
              under the tree.
               
               The meal dragged on endlessly and just when I thought everyone was through my
              older brother would reach for a second helping and grin at me since he knew I was
              impatient to open the presents.  Once the meal was finally over we were each given an
              apple and told to cut it in half. If the cut apple formed a star in the center you would live
              another year. I remember always being glad my apple formed a star after Dad cut it. It
              wasn’t until years later that I learned it depended on how the apple was cut whether there
              was a star or not.

                The meal having officially ended we waited for a tiny bell to ring. Dad
              usually slipped away and rang the bell that was a signal that baby Jesus had gone and left
              the gifts under the tree. We did not believe in Santa Claus because Mama said that was a
              pagan custom. Upon hearing the bell we walked into the room and saw the Christmas tree
              for the first time. (Mama and Dad decorated the tree secretly the day before and kept the
              door locked.) Candles lit the tree, many beautiful ornaments, strings of popped corn and
              tinsel , all the tree could hold. I wish I could have only one of the beautiful ornaments
              today. I can still see it all. When all were in the room , we knelt in prayer offered for all
              the departed members of the family. Then carols were sung in Czech and finally we would
              open our gifts.  When we were through with the gifts we went back to the table for hot tea
              and more snacks. We sat around until it was time to dress for Midnight Mass. We all
              bundled up in our Model T ford and off we went.

              Loretta and David wrote:

              The tradition of  " Svaty Mikulas"  St. Nicholas Day  had been observed by our family up throught the 1950's. It was on the eve of  the 6th of December,  which the feast of St. Nicholas on the Roman Catholic Canlender. On this evening all the children would set out a plate with cookies, nuts, an apple one orange and a glass of milk. Usually any gift which we thought St. Nick might like. We would pray that St. Nicholas would visit our home and find in his heart that we were good boys and girls and repay us with small gifts. That morning we always got up early to see the what he had left for us. In some cases if we had misbehaved the day before we often found a  small limb from a peach or plum tree with a pretty red bow (a switch) but we were never so bad that we did not receive any goodies on our plate.

              The next holy day was December 8, The feast of the Immaculate Conception, this also was a day when we awaited the coming of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this date we would receive articles such as Holy Cards, a rosary, maybe a prayerbook, etc.....

              The tradition of fish for Christmas Eve. Is this a tradition orginated in the Czech lands or is based on tradition of the Roman Catholic Church? Those that remember when we Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Friday, we were also to fast from meat on the eve of every Holy Day. This was a law of the Church. I'm not sure but some of the other denominations also observed this practice. This was our fish day or vegetable soup etc.... We ate fish on Friday and also on the eve of Holydays and Ash Wednesday. I wonder if this tradition of eating fish did not evolve from this practice?

              Here is another tradition someone out there might remember. On Christmas Eve day if you eat you will not see the "Golden Pig" Has anyone out there remember seeing the golden pig. Does anyone remember what had to be done and why? I know that we always had to fast so many hours before receiving Holy Communion. On Christmas Eve we always went to Midnite Mass and received Holy Communion. We always ate a evening meal that day, and Grandma always placed a little money under her plate for good luck, so in order to receive communion at midnite mass we had to abstain from food the remainder of the evening until midnite. With so many goodies around it was very difficult for the young ones to stay out of the kitchen. My reasoning is that we were promised to see the Golden Pig, if we did not snack on goodies before midnite Mass so we could receive Communion. Why a Golden Pig? Beats me. Anyone out there have the answer?

              David B.
               
               
               
               

              CShep10511@... wrote:

              Thanks for this info.  My mother tells exactly this same story of this
              tradition that was still celebrated  as she was a child.  Too bad some of
              these wonderful traditions had not been continued with the 2nd and 3rd
              generation Czech-Americans.

              I am happy to say we have continued to celebrate a European Christmas and
              Santa comes on our house on Christmas Eve. We also continue the tradition of
              having a fish fry (ryby) on Christmas Eve as do many of our Czech family in
              Europe.

              Happy Holidays.

              Connie

              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
               
               

              --
              Lois Petter Pereira
              Researching Ahlhorn, Bokemeyer, Brdusik, Bruntrig, Cordes, Filges, Francis, Garney, Gebauer, Hadac, Hadash, Halla, Hauser, Hoelschel, Kaskie, Maciejeski, Manak, Nauger, Ollre, Orsag, Orsak, Otjen, Papiz, Pavlik, Pereira, Petter, Polasek, Pratka, Psencik, Rada, Rohan, Sablatura, Schaub, Schroeder, Slovack, Susil, Tiemann, Urban, Weiser
               

            • Lois Petter Pereira
              Here again I find it strange the way people celebrate. One of my aunts always used shoes, she was born in the CR, but the rest of the family used bowls. I
              Message 6 of 11 , Dec 9, 2000
              • 0 Attachment
                Here again I find it strange the way people celebrate. One of my aunts always used shoes, she was born in the CR, but the rest of the family used bowls. I can't say that it was only the ones born in America that used the bowls because that is not the case. I think we used bowls because my mother would never let us put anything in our mouths that was left in our shoes. It wouldn't matter if it was wrapped twenty times. I guess mom knew how grubby we were. It was only this week when my aunt came to visit me after my operation that we were sitting around (eating kolaches and drinking coffee) that this subject came up. Her great granddaughter and my granddaughter go to St. Ambrose School in Houston. Their teacher, Sr. Lucy read them the story of St. Nicholas and told them to put their shoes out. My granddaughter is used to putting out a bowl so she knew this wouldn't work but she also didn't make the connection between Mikulas and St. Nicholas. She is only 5. I know Rick Garza spent some time recently with his parents and relatives discussing genealogy and of course the stories behind the people. I am extremely close to my aunts and I was shocked that the shoe versus the bowl came up. I have been doing genealogy over 20 years and I thought I knew everything about the family and traditions. This just opened my eyes and deflated my head. Everyone needs to start a journal and start writing these things down. My family thought I was nuts to worry about dead people or who cares about someone you never met. Now all of a sudden all my nieces and nephews ask me about new information I have found out. My brothers are coming around too. Now they see that one day they will be the dead people and if they get this stuff written down their grandchildren and greatgrandchildren will know them, even if it is through words....lois    

                CShep10511@... wrote:

                My Mother said they used to up their shoes just outside the door hoping for
                Saint Mikulas to leave them a special treat. This was usually fruit and nuts.
                She said this was almost more important than Christmas.

                Connie

                Researching: HEJL, HOLUB, MENSIK AND NORS

                To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                 
                 

                --
                Lois Petter Pereira
                Researching Ahlhorn, Bokemeyer, Brdusik, Bruntrig, Cordes, Filges, Francis, Garney, Gebauer, Hadac, Hadash, Halla, Hauser, Hoelschel, Kaskie, Maciejeski, Manak, Nauger, Ollre, Orsag, Orsak, Otjen, Papiz, Pavlik, Pereira, Petter, Polasek, Pratka, Psencik, Rada, Rohan, Sablatura, Schaub, Schroeder, Slovack, Susil, Tiemann, Urban, Weiser
                 

              • kotrlarj@juno.com
                Lois: Thanks for sharing your memories. Other listers, please share your stories about Christmas traditions, and just your own Czech Christmases. Thanks,
                Message 7 of 11 , Dec 9, 2000
                • 0 Attachment
                  Lois:

                  Thanks for sharing your memories.

                  Other listers, please share your stories about Christmas
                  traditions, and just your own Czech Christmases.

                  Thanks,

                  Richard

                  --- In texasczechs@egroups.com, Lois Petter Pereira <epereira@s...>
                  wrote:
                  > Here again I find it strange the way people celebrate. One of my
                  aunts
                  > always used shoes, she was born in the CR, but the rest of the
                  family
                  > used bowls. I can't say that it was only the ones born in America
                  that
                  > used the bowls because that is not the case. I think we used bowls
                  > because my mother would never let us put anything in our mouths that
                  was
                  > left in our shoes. It wouldn't matter if it was wrapped twenty
                  times. I
                  > guess mom knew how grubby we were. It was only this week when my
                  aunt
                  > came to visit me after my operation that we were sitting around
                  (eating
                  > kolaches and drinking coffee) that this subject came up. Her great
                  > granddaughter and my granddaughter go to St. Ambrose School in
                  Houston.
                  > Their teacher, Sr. Lucy read them the story of St. Nicholas and told
                  > them to put their shoes out. My granddaughter is used to putting out
                  a
                  > bowl so she knew this wouldn't work but she also didn't make the
                  > connection between Mikulas and St. Nicholas. She is only 5. I know
                  Rick
                  > Garza spent some time recently with his parents and relatives
                  discussing
                  > genealogy and of course the stories behind the people. I am
                  extremely
                  > close to my aunts and I was shocked that the shoe versus the bowl
                  came
                  > up. I have been doing genealogy over 20 years and I thought I knew
                  > everything about the family and traditions. This just opened my eyes
                  and
                  > deflated my head. Everyone needs to start a journal and start
                  writing
                  > these things down. My family thought I was nuts to worry about dead
                  > people or who cares about someone you never met. Now all of a sudden
                  all
                  > my nieces and nephews ask me about new information I have found out.
                  My
                  > brothers are coming around too. Now they see that one day they will
                  be
                  > the dead people and if they get this stuff written down their
                  > grandchildren and greatgrandchildren will know them, even if it is
                  > through words....lois
                  >
                  > CShep10511@a... wrote:
                  >
                  > > My Mother said they used to up their shoes just outside the door
                  > > hoping for
                  > > Saint Mikulas to leave them a special treat. This was usually
                  fruit
                  > > and nuts.
                  > > She said this was almost more important than Christmas.
                  > >
                  > > Connie
                  > >
                  > > Researching: HEJL, HOLUB, MENSIK AND NORS
                  > > eGroups Sponsor
                  > [Find Your Ancestors!]
                  > >
                  > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > > texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > --
                  > Lois Petter Pereira
                  > Researching Ahlhorn, Bokemeyer, Brdusik, Bruntrig, Cordes, Filges,
                  > Francis, Garney, Gebauer, Hadac, Hadash, Halla, Hauser, Hoelschel,
                  > Kaskie, Maciejeski, Manak, Nauger, Ollre, Orsag, Orsak, Otjen,
                  Papiz,
                  > Pavlik, Pereira, Petter, Polasek, Pratka, Psencik, Rada, Rohan,
                  > Sablatura, Schaub, Schroeder, Slovack, Susil, Tiemann, Urban, Weiser
                • kotrlarj@juno.com
                  Lois, How awessome for you to share this with us. We want more, from you and others. Richard ... eat ... Czechs ... carp ... the ... situation ... a ... we ...
                  Message 8 of 11 , Dec 9, 2000
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Lois,

                    How awessome for you to share this with us.

                    We want more, from you and others.

                    Richard

                    --- In texasczechs@egroups.com, Lois Petter Pereira <epereira@s...>
                    wrote:
                    > For years I thought it was basically a Catholic thing. We couldn't
                    eat
                    > meat therefore we ate fish but since I've gotten involved with this
                    > egroups and Czech Cultural Center I find this is not true. The
                    Czechs
                    > hold carp dear to their heart. Also it is not the same trash fish,
                    carp
                    > that we know, they even have farms to raise them. Every year I go to
                    the
                    > CCC and buy a new hand blown ornament from the CR. This past Sept I
                    > bought one and it was a carp. It also had something to do with good
                    > luck. I don't remember having fish on Christmas Eve but our
                    situation
                    > was different. My father died when I was very young so my mohter was
                    a
                    > widow with 3 young children. Fish to us was classified as meat and
                    we
                    > only had it when we went fishing. Meat was served sparingly since we
                    > always had a large garden and we all liked vegetables. See it is
                    good to
                    > be poor because we never got all that fat in our diet. Of course now
                    it
                    > is too much fat. I am enclosing a story my mother wrote about her
                    > Christmas. Mom was born in America.
                    >
                    >
                    > CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
                    > by Olga Susil Petter Jankowiak
                    >
                    > Christmas at our house was always the most celebrated holiday of
                    the
                    > year.
                    > Beginning with the first day of advent Mama would dress us for
                    church in
                    > somber clothes
                    > in keeping with the solemn occasion that preceded the joyful one,
                    the
                    > birth of baby Jesus.
                    > I do not remember having an advent wreath but I do remember the
                    whole
                    > family knelt
                    > praying the rosary every night. This was a spiritual part that
                    lasted
                    > the length of Advent.
                    >
                    > The preparation of the Christmas feast started a week before
                    Christmas.
                    > First my
                    > brothers and Dad went deep into the woods in search of a tree. There
                    > were many trees to
                    > choose from, but it must be just right, therefore it took a long
                    time.
                    > At the same time they
                    > searched for a tree they would stop under a large pecan tree and
                    gather
                    > nuts. Sometimes it
                    > was a huge sack full. They were to be used for the Christmas baking.
                    The
                    > tree was not cut
                    > that day in order for it to keep it's wonderful scent it was usually
                    cut
                    > a few days later.
                    >
                    > Then came the pecan peeling party where neighbors gathered each
                    night
                    > and
                    > peeled pecans so that chore was quickly done. It was fun especially
                    for
                    > the youngsters
                    > since mama made us hot chocolate along with her many varieties of
                    > cookies. The adults
                    > had hot tea and I believe the men had a drink or two of dad's
                    whiskey
                    > (which he brewed
                    > but never drank except for medicinal purposes).
                    >
                    > The next day the baking started. Mama and the older girls would
                    prepare
                    > the fruits
                    > that were put in the fruit cakes. There were usually six huge ones.
                    Each
                    > one was carefully
                    > wrapped in cheesecloth that had been soaked in rum and then tightly
                    > wrapped in brown
                    > paper. The cakes were then stored in a cool place. Next came the
                    > strudels. Mama sent dad
                    > to town with the shopping list that included a crate of apples and a
                    > crate of oranges. The
                    > paring of apples was done by mama and the big girls. Being the baby
                    of
                    > the family I
                    > always felt cheated but was told I could help when I was older.
                    After
                    > the strudels were
                    > baked it was time to bake kolaches. Dozens of sausage ones
                    (klobasniks),
                    > prune, poppy
                    > seed and cottage cheese but I can't say I had a favorite since I
                    liked
                    > them all. They too had
                    > to be done on a large scale since there were seven children and mom
                    and
                    > dad plus the
                    > many neighbors who dropped in. After the kolaches were baked,
                    cooled
                    > and put away
                    > there were still a few days left for Mama to get our clothes ready.
                    I
                    > was lucky I had a new
                    > dress every year, being small, it cost less to buy material.
                    >
                    > Then came Christmas eve day, which to me seemed like the longest
                    day of
                    > the
                    > year. All kinds of aromas coming from the kitchen, except for one
                    that I
                    > hated, that was
                    > caraway seed soup. To this day I will not eat it. When all the food
                    was
                    > prepared and our
                    > best tablecloth laid. We set out our Sunday dishes and then it was
                    time
                    > to go on the front
                    > porch and wait for the first star to appear. Absolutely no one ate
                    > before the first star, ever.
                    > I think it was a custom that was followed in Czechoslovakia and my
                    > parents kept it in
                    > America. Once the star appeared we went inside to eat. The food was
                    > brought in. There
                    > was soup, cheese, bread et cetera but no meat. Meat was not allowed
                    > until after midnight
                    > when the fast ended. Next came platters of all the baked treats that
                    the
                    > table could hold.
                    > The last thing placed in the center of the table was a big bowl of
                    > apples. The blessing was
                    > said and all sat down to eat. I never ate much I was too excited
                    > thinking of the presents
                    > under the tree.
                    >
                    > The meal dragged on endlessly and just when I thought everyone was
                    > through my
                    > older brother would reach for a second helping and grin at me since
                    he
                    > knew I was
                    > impatient to open the presents. Once the meal was finally over we
                    were
                    > each given an
                    > apple and told to cut it in half. If the cut apple formed a star in
                    the
                    > center you would live
                    > another year. I remember always being glad my apple formed a star
                    after
                    > Dad cut it. It
                    > wasn't until years later that I learned it depended on how the apple
                    was
                    > cut whether there
                    > was a star or not.
                    >
                    > The meal having officially ended we waited for a tiny bell to
                    ring.
                    > Dad
                    > usually slipped away and rang the bell that was a signal that baby
                    Jesus
                    > had gone and left
                    > the gifts under the tree. We did not believe in Santa Claus because
                    Mama
                    > said that was a
                    > pagan custom. Upon hearing the bell we walked into the room and saw
                    the
                    > Christmas tree
                    > for the first time. (Mama and Dad decorated the tree secretly the
                    day
                    > before and kept the
                    > door locked.) Candles lit the tree, many beautiful ornaments,
                    strings of
                    > popped corn and
                    > tinsel , all the tree could hold. I wish I could have only one of
                    the
                    > beautiful ornaments
                    > today. I can still see it all. When all were in the room , we knelt
                    in
                    > prayer offered for all
                    > the departed members of the family. Then carols were sung in Czech
                    and
                    > finally we would
                    > open our gifts. When we were through with the gifts we went back to
                    the
                    > table for hot tea
                    > and more snacks. We sat around until it was time to dress for
                    Midnight
                    > Mass. We all
                    > bundled up in our Model T ford and off we went.
                    >
                    > Loretta and David wrote:
                    >
                    > > The tradition of " Svaty Mikulas" St. Nicholas Day had been
                    > > observed by our family up throught the 1950's. It was on the eve
                    of
                    > > the 6th of December, which the feast of St. Nicholas on the Roman
                    > > Catholic Canlender. On this evening all the children would set out
                    a
                    > > plate with cookies, nuts, an apple one orange and a glass of milk.
                    > > Usually any gift which we thought St. Nick might like. We would
                    pray
                    > > that St. Nicholas would visit our home and find in his heart that
                    we
                    > > were good boys and girls and repay us with small gifts. That
                    morning
                    > > we always got up early to see the what he had left for us. In some
                    > > cases if we had misbehaved the day before we often found a small
                    limb
                    > > from a peach or plum tree with a pretty red bow (a switch) but we
                    were
                    > > never so bad that we did not receive any goodies on our plate.
                    > >
                    > > The next holy day was December 8, The feast of the Immaculate
                    > > Conception, this also was a day when we awaited the coming of the
                    > > Blessed Virgin Mary. On this date we would receive articles such
                    as
                    > > Holy Cards, a rosary, maybe a prayerbook, etc.....
                    > >
                    > > The tradition of fish for Christmas Eve. Is this a tradition
                    orginated
                    > > in the Czech lands or is based on tradition of the Roman Catholic
                    > > Church? Those that remember when we Catholics were not allowed to
                    eat
                    > > meat on Friday, we were also to fast from meat on the eve of every
                    > > Holy Day. This was a law of the Church. I'm not sure but some of
                    the
                    > > other denominations also observed this practice. This was our fish
                    day
                    > > or vegetable soup etc.... We ate fish on Friday and also on the
                    eve of
                    > > Holydays and Ash Wednesday. I wonder if this tradition of eating
                    fish
                    > > did not evolve from this practice?
                    > >
                    > > Here is another tradition someone out there might remember. On
                    > > Christmas Eve day if you eat you will not see the "Golden Pig" Has
                    > > anyone out there remember seeing the golden pig. Does anyone
                    remember
                    > > what had to be done and why? I know that we always had to fast so
                    many
                    > > hours before receiving Holy Communion. On Christmas Eve we always
                    went
                    > > to Midnite Mass and received Holy Communion. We always ate a
                    evening
                    > > meal that day, and Grandma always placed a little money under her
                    > > plate for good luck, so in order to receive communion at midnite
                    mass
                    > > we had to abstain from food the remainder of the evening until
                    > > midnite. With so many goodies around it was very difficult for the
                    > > young ones to stay out of the kitchen. My reasoning is that we
                    were
                    > > promised to see the Golden Pig, if we did not snack on goodies
                    before
                    > > midnite Mass so we could receive Communion. Why a Golden Pig?
                    Beats
                    > > me. Anyone out there have the answer?
                    > >
                    > > David B.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > CShep10511@a... wrote:
                    > >
                    > >> Thanks for this info. My mother tells exactly this same story of
                    > >> this
                    > >> tradition that was still celebrated as she was a child. Too bad
                    > >> some of
                    > >> these wonderful traditions had not been continued with the 2nd
                    and
                    > >> 3rd
                    > >> generation Czech-Americans.
                    > >>
                    > >> I am happy to say we have continued to celebrate a European
                    > >> Christmas and
                    > >> Santa comes on our house on Christmas Eve. We also continue the
                    > >> tradition of
                    > >> having a fish fry (ryby) on Christmas Eve as do many of our Czech
                    > >> family in
                    > >> Europe.
                    > >>
                    > >> Happy Holidays.
                    > >>
                    > >> Connie
                    > >>
                    > >> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    > >> texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                    > >>
                    > >>
                    > >
                    > --
                    > Lois Petter Pereira
                    > Researching Ahlhorn, Bokemeyer, Brdusik, Bruntrig, Cordes, Filges,
                    > Francis, Garney, Gebauer, Hadac, Hadash, Halla, Hauser, Hoelschel,
                    > Kaskie, Maciejeski, Manak, Nauger, Ollre, Orsag, Orsak, Otjen,
                    Papiz,
                    > Pavlik, Pereira, Petter, Polasek, Pratka, Psencik, Rada, Rohan,
                    > Sablatura, Schaub, Schroeder, Slovack, Susil, Tiemann, Urban, Weiser
                  • Kathy Horak Smith
                    Try this site. A history of the Christmas traditions was written by Will Mae Cervenka. She is a member of the McLennan-Hill Counties CHS Chapter.
                    Message 9 of 11 , Dec 9, 2000
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Try this site.  A history of the Christmas traditions was written by Will Mae Cervenka.  She is a member of the McLennan-Hill Counties CHS Chapter. 
                      http://czechheritage.org/czechchristmas.html 
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2000 2:22 AM
                      Subject: Re: [TexasCzechs] Mikulas tradition

                      The tradition of  " Svaty Mikulas"  St. Nicholas Day  had been observed by our family up throught the 1950's. It was on the eve of  the 6th of December,  which the feast of St. Nicholas on the Roman Catholic Canlender. On this evening all the children would set out a plate with cookies, nuts, an apple one orange and a glass of milk. Usually any gift which we thought St. Nick might like. We would pray that St. Nicholas would visit our home and find in his heart that we were good boys and girls and repay us with small gifts. That morning we always got up early to see the what he had left for us. In some cases if we had misbehaved the day before we often found a  small limb from a peach or plum tree with a pretty red bow (a switch) but we were never so bad that we did not receive any goodies on our plate.

                      The next holy day was December 8, The feast of the Immaculate Conception, this also was a day when we awaited the coming of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this date we would receive articles such as Holy Cards, a rosary, maybe a prayerbook, etc.....

                      The tradition of fish for Christmas Eve. Is this a tradition orginated in the Czech lands or is based on tradition of the Roman Catholic Church? Those that remember when we Catholics were not allowed to eat meat on Friday, we were also to fast from meat on the eve of every Holy Day. This was a law of the Church. I'm not sure but some of the other denominations also observed this practice. This was our fish day or vegetable soup etc.... We ate fish on Friday and also on the eve of Holydays and Ash Wednesday. I wonder if this tradition of eating fish did not evolve from this practice?

                      Here is another tradition someone out there might remember. On Christmas Eve day if you eat you will not see the "Golden Pig" Has anyone out there remember seeing the golden pig. Does anyone remember what had to be done and why? I know that we always had to fast so many hours before receiving Holy Communion. On Christmas Eve we always went to Midnite Mass and received Holy Communion. We always ate a evening meal that day, and Grandma always placed a little money under her plate for good luck, so in order to receive communion at midnite mass we had to abstain from food the remainder of the evening until midnite. With so many goodies around it was very difficult for the young ones to stay out of the kitchen. My reasoning is that we were promised to see the Golden Pig, if we did not snack on goodies before midnite Mass so we could receive Communion. Why a Golden Pig? Beats me. Anyone out there have the answer?

                      David B.
                       
                       
                       
                       

                      CShep10511@... wrote:

                      Thanks for this info.  My mother tells exactly this same story of this
                      tradition that was still celebrated  as she was a child.  Too bad some of
                      these wonderful traditions had not been continued with the 2nd and 3rd
                      generation Czech-Americans.

                      I am happy to say we have continued to celebrate a European Christmas and
                      Santa comes on our house on Christmas Eve. We also continue the tradition of
                      having a fish fry (ryby) on Christmas Eve as do many of our Czech family in
                      Europe.

                      Happy Holidays.

                      Connie

                      To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      texasczechs-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                       
                       

                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.