Every country has its own traditions and celebrations to celebrate the holidays, passed down from one generation to the next. Take a look at the intriguing traditions celebrated by our UniCredit countries
1 Czech Republic: not your usual gift giver
If you find yourself in Czech Republic, don’t expect Santa Claus and his reindeer to be delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. Children receive their holiday presents from Jesus. You won’t find him in the North Pole either, but instead in the mountains near Boží Dar, where a post office receives letters sent by children. After a traditional Christmas feast, kids wait for the ringing of a bell, signalling the arrival of the baby Jesus bearing their Christmas gifts, followed by unwrapping festivities!
2 Hungary: advent wreath
In Hungary the holiday season starts at the beginning of December with the creation of an advent wreath, a circle-shaped centrepiece made of pine branches featuring four candles representing faith, hope, joy, and love. A tradition from the 19th century, each candle is lit every Sunday leading up to Christmas, with the last one lit on Christmas Eve. To discover more wonderful Hungarian Christmas traditions, click here.
3 Italy: nativity scene
The Presepe – the Italian nativity scene – was popularized by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223, who used figurines to re-enact the story of Jesus’ birth. According to the tradition, on the 8th of December Italian families set up the nativity scene in their homes using beautiful statuettes representing the holy family, shepherds, and barn animals. The infant Jesus is placed in his crib at the stroke of midnight on December 25th, when families welcome Christmas Day. Click on this link to leaf through beautiful Presepi collections from Italy.
4 Serbia: česnica
The breaking of bread known as česnica (or pogača) is a staple at the Serbian Christmas table. Originating from the word čest, meaning “to share,” a loaf of bread is rotated counter clockwise around the dinner table three times, with each person tearing off a piece as it goes around. (One piece goes to the house, too!) It’s a tradition to bake the bread with a silver coin inside – whoever finds it will enjoy luck and blessings for the year to come.
5 Slovakia: folklore traditions
Slovak folklore is full of rich folklore that is still alive in many households. It is common to cut apples horizontally, and if the seeds form a star, you can expect a life of happiness and good health for the year ahead. Find out more about traditional Slovak holiday celebrations by clicking here!