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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class — Holidays in the Czech Republic Series at CzechClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Czech holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Lesson 4, St. Stephen's Day. In Czech, it’s called sv. Štěpán.
The Christmas holiday actually lasts 12 days on the Christian calendar. On the Second Day of Christmas, Czechs celebrate a feast for St. Stephen. It's a national holiday, so people don’t have to go to work.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question—
How does the most famous carol associated with St. Stephen’s Day begin?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
This holiday commemorates the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen. In the Czech Republic, the most common custom connected with this day used to be a Christmas carol or koleda. People, especially older children, used to go to nearby houses in a village or town, sing Christmas carols, and wish the residents good luck. They were rewarded with Christmas treats or sometimes token money. In some places, this tradition continues to this day.
The Second Day of Christmas is a day of rest or den odpočinku. This makes it possible to spend this day in an atmosphere that is typical for Czech Christmas. People take a rest from their everyday stresses and worries and spend time with their families. Frequently, Czechs pay visits to their relatives and friends, exchanging Christmas gifts and wishing each other Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
The Second Day of Christmas in the Czech Republic also includes plentiful tables and lots of delicious Christmas cookies. Families will usually have their favorite food, which they will eat in excess. Television stations, or televizní stanice, broadcast the most popular TV shows and movies. Everywhere you go, there’s a general atmosphere of satisfaction.
There are many remarkable sayings connected with St. Stephen’s Day. For example, it’s said that “when Stephen brings stormy winds, the winemaker sadly squints,” which is translated from Když na Štěpána dují větry, vinař smutně šilhá.
If you say that to a Czech person you will definitely impress them.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
How does the most famous carol associated with St. Stephen’s Day begin?
This carol, which every Czech will immediately think of in connection with this feast, begins as follows:
Koleda, koleda Štěpáne,
“Wassail, wassail Stephen,”
co to neseš ve džbáně?
“what do you have in your pitcher?”
Nesu, nesu koledu,
“I bring, I bring the wassail,”
uklouz jsem s ní na ledu.
“Slipped on the ice”
Psi se na mě sběhli,
“Dogs ran at me”
koledu mi snědli.
“Ate my wassail.”
Well listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something new?
Do you sometimes go caroling in your country?
Leave a comment telling us at CzechClass101.com, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!