The featured meal for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner in the Czech Republic is not turkey, like in many other countries, but fried carp. The most curious fact about the Christmas dinner is that the carp is bought alive a week before that night or a few days prior it.
Carps are kept alive in the bathtub for days (kids event name them) until ready for cooking on the day of Christmas Eve! When preparing the fish, you have to clean it from fish-scales and that is when Czech tradition comes in hand.
The bathtub carp tradition is only one of many followed on Christmas Eve. Apparently many feel sorry to kill a live fish and let it go.
The Christmas carp tradition started centuries back in Slovakia and its neighboring countries including Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and Croatia.
Local people believe the bathtub fish tradition can be explained scientifically. According to them, the carp being a bottom feeder contains mud and dirt which gets washed away when in swims in clean bathtub water.
The tradition also helps in keeping the fish fresh till dinner time. Traditionally, it is the father of the family who takes the carp out of the tub and cleans it before cooking.