Slovakians Christmas Dinner Starts in the Bathtub!
By angelamontana

Posted: December 24, 2015

Bathtub carp is one of several traditions tied to Christmas Eve — a day that is the centerpiece of holiday celebrations for Slovaks and some others in central Europe. It is also the day, children are told, when baby Jesus brings a Christmas tree. (This requires some elaborate subterfuge from parents, who must hide and decorate the tree behind closed doors.) Later in the day, the little ones get their gifts.

Carp are bottom feeders. The idea is that a few days swimming in clean water helps to flush mud from the fish’s digestive tract. (It would actually take a lot longer than that for this trick to work, fisheries scientist Patrick Cooney tells us. He’s tried it.) Some note that the tub time was a practical way to store fresh fish before refrigerators became common.

And as magically as the fully decorated Christmas tree appears, the pet carp’s life not-so-magically ends. Traditionally, the father takes the live fish from the family tub and, in most cases, slices its head off with a knife. It can be more difficult than it sounds. (via

So, if you are looking for some new Christmas Eve traditions, you can always give “bathtub carp” a try.  You can also read more about it at the NPR website.

What are your Christmas Even traditions?  Would you try bathtub carp?

(Feature photo credit: Filip Singer/EPA/Corbis)

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