Winter, or zima, as it is called in the Czech Republic, is one of the most feared, yet revered seasons of the year all around the world. Some love it because it brings beloved holidays like Christmas and New Years Day along with the smell of baked apples and cinnamon, while others hate it because of the freezing cold that comes in its wake. Throughout the centuries people have learned to adapt to the coldness of winter and enjoy it by celebrating in entertaining and unique ways.
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in the Northern Hemisphere. It has a temperate climate that is overall mild, but can vary across the country. Winter in this country is generally cold; temperatures fall below 0 °C. During this season, the precipitation is usually formed by snow and rain. Though most Czech folk traditions are linked with spring, there are some holidays that are celebrated during zima.
Two of the most famous holidays – not only in the Czech Republic, but across the globe – are of course St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. During St. Nicholas Day, if you wonder the Czech streets you will see people dressed as different characters: Mikuláš or St.Nicholas, anděl ( The Angel ) or čert ( The Devil ). These characters wander the streets asking children if they were good or bad during the past year.
Another famous tradition that takes place during zima in the Czech Republic is Hromnice, a celebration that falls on the 2nd of February. The weather during this day is meant to be a sign that tells how long winter will linger in the country. The tradition says that during this day a groundhog will leave his den; if he sees his shadow during Hromnice he will return to his hole and wait another six weeks for the winter to pass. Otherwise, he will remain above the ground and wait for the arrival of spring.
One last tradition linked to winter, although it takes place in Spring is the drowning of the Morena. In order to say goodbye to the cold season, people in the Czech Republic make an effigy of Morena, the pagan goddesses of death and winter and dress it in female clothes. Afterwards they set it afire and drown it in the river, thus drowning winter with it.
Have you heard of other zima traditions?
( Image source: Travelphotogallery )
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