11 Things You Will Find in Every Czech Home

69 thoughts on “11 Things You Will Find in Every Czech Home”

  1. After reading your article, I’m really starting to think that there might be something about draught when it comes to Czech people. I am Czech and I study English as a major at a uni and a lot of my teachers are native speakers. One of them, British, asked the other day why are all Czechs obsessed with draught. ‘And such an ominous word, průůůůůůvan,’ he said. I’ve never noticed myself (but apparently, I’m a weird Czech, I usually also refuse wearing slippers in other people’s home (I never wear them at home) and yeah, they are looking at me like ‘well, okay, you’re weird, you probably don’t care you’ll get sick.’ 🙂

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      1. Well… I’m not really sure about it. My family doesn’t complain about draught, only when I leave door to the pantry open, which is logical since there is no heating and it’s really cold in winter. My family usually leaves the rest of the door open so our cats could roam the house as they wish. And on the contrary, in summer we open all the doors and windows to make a draught, so the hot air would come in (our house is old and made of bricks, so it keeps constant temperature even during hot summers), using it to warm the rooms without having to turn the heating on. And yeah, I find the breeze really pleasant. On the other hand, my grandma visited me today and told me something about closing doors and draught, so yeah, I guess it’s a stereotype. Come to think of it, especially the elderly people are cautious, because they are worried about their health, their bones and so on.

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    1. Right on ! But must add, you notice things others would not. That’s a what’s growing up in different culture does to you. I am Czech-born, but live all my adult life in the United States. In States, I never take my shoes off, anywhere, and nobody cares. Here, people believe shoes are part of your “uniform” and your “uniform” should not be compromised. Not so in Czechia. Czechs always considered me (very) rude for not taking my shoes off. Some of them even think I was brought up by pack of wolfs and would avoid inviting me to their homes. Sorry, but for some reason, I have never found appealing wearing papuče after they they were worn by hundreds of strangers before me. As for the other observations – dual flush toilets are new phenomena in Czech Republic. So are bidets. Trust me, you would not want to visit pre-1989 bathroom in Czechoslovakia. That would be an experience you would never forget. Skiing is a culture not necessarily practiced by everybody, and considered by many city dwellers to be a part of social status. Don’t get fooled, as lard and škvarky are still an animal fat that will kill you no matter where in the world they are served. As compared to other cuisines, Czech food is actually very unhealthy and high in calories. Enjoyed your post !

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      1. We have a full collection of it, cibulák to be precise. Also lots of pieces of the pink porcelain. Not to be used for drinking, just for decoration! 🙂

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      2. Maybe you haven’t seen it because it is often used for special occasions only. We only eat from the “cibulak” plates at Christmas Eve 😉

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      3. They were the most famous in the 80’s or maybe later. You know, this ‘folklor-traditional-stuff’ revival. So in my mum’s head for example it is a reminder of communistic fashion… 😉 maybe that’s ehy they are not much around these days…

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  2. This article is perfect😂😂😂, like a Czech girl i haven’t noticed many things until I went to my Erasmus to Greece. We are really wierd national, but I love it ☺

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  3. My grandfather was born in Czechoslovakia but my grandma was mostly English, born here. My grandpa died before I was born, but my grandma and mom and aunt were obsessed with worrying about drafts, especially when a baby was around. But, I found as a young mother, it is much colder the lower to the floor you are, and babies aren’t very warm on a blanket on the floor, or even a playpen. So, they were so right! Also, I had to wear a triangle scarf around my head and tied under my chin on windy days when walking to school ( in the USA) up until the 5th grade when I said “no more!” In pictures I see my mom, aunt and grandma in them, as well. I see them in lots of pics of Czech Republic. They do keep your ears from the wind, that is true! I use ear muffs now, lol. And yes, there is always lots of coffee and tea all year around. Thank you for your article. Carla Wald Dolan. My grandfather’s name was Ruzicka.

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    1. I find myself resisting a lot of these cultural requirements too, until I realize that they’re right 😀 For example, Czechs also love “changing the air” (opening all the windows for a time) despite their fear of draught. I do the same, and I also now religiously follow the slippers rule!

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    1. You may ask your butcher if he can spare some fat from pork. Usually, they may give it to you free of charge or for a minimal price. You just cut it in strips and then to little cubes and place it in slow cooker no low. Within hours you will have your own lard.

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  4. You nailed it! Love it! (I’m czech living in us) I would add Slivovice (moonshine). But that may be more in Moravia part of Czech Republic (:

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    1. Not necessarily. Even one hour outside Prague, near Sedlcany so deep in the Bohemian hinterland we drink a hell of a lot of Slivovice.

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  5. My great-great-grandparents came here from Moravia and I am researching our history… I loved reading this! I have never been to the Czech Republic but I really want to go. And now I understand my drive to stockpile food….

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  6. Nice article, you have great observational skills! I can easily imagine a sequel to this collection but I think you got the basic part. When I saw the first picture at the top, I actually expected one of the entries to be about this particular type of blinds which you can also find in almost every Czech home:)
    Also, did you notice how perfectly tight the Czech windows are?? Quite a contrast from New York’s loose, falling apart windows through which you can hear wind blowing and see rain and snow falling… I bet it has something to do with průvan as well.
    (A couple years ago, my mom in Moravia got all the windows in our house replaced. Afterwards, you could feel a teeny-tiny stream of air coming through one of the windows when putting a finger on its edge. And she made a really big deal about it and made the company repair it. In NYC, we just apply self-adhesive insulation and pray for the winter to end soon.. )
    As for the preserves, papuče, předsíň, obsession with průvan, sádlo, škavarky (and yes, slivovice) – those things made my childhood and they have so much sentiment for me now after living in US for ten years that I almost want to cry…
    BTW, that collection of papuče you have there is nothing compared to what my mom has in her předsíň… three times as big, believe me!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Johanka! For some reason yeah, windows are really important… I think about my childhood home where my mom has been complaining about how ugly the windows are for years, but we don’t do anything about it. Plus you can barely open them because they are old and don’t have handles. I couldn’t imagine something like that here.
      I’d love to see that papuče collection 🙂 feel free to send a pic through the FB page!

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  7. I am an American married to a Czech. We have an apartment there. We have lots of noise shoes for our visitors but I never wear them and it drives the in laws crazy. One thing I didn’t see on your list was a collection of crystal or painted glass. Younger people don’t seem to be collecting it as much as on the past but most people have at least some beautiful glass. The home canned goods made me laugh. My mother in law used to cook and can rabbit and bring with her when she came to visit s in he United States.

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    1. My mom is a jewelry/antiques collector and believe it or not, I know about Czech glass (and garnets) from her – but if I see it here, it’s mostly in the collections of older people (but it does make coffee / slivovice shots much more glamorous).
      Leave it to Czech people not to trust American food and bring their own 😀 Though admittedly rabbit is delicious. Everyone I know who has visited the US either made their own sandwiches and brought them everywhere, or ate only fast food (also because of price).

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    2. I agree that collections of Bohemian crystal and pink china should make it to the list. Also, the classical living room shelving unit as e.g. in this picture where these items are carefully displayed, often on decorative crocheted cloths hardened by starch to keep shape.


      It is true that young generation is trying to get rid of these but they still represent a staple of classical Czech and Moravian family houses which you are writing about.

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  8. Solid list. It is always intriguing to read lists like these, because it makes you realize some of the cultural quirks and idiosyncrasies that one takes for granted as a Czech citizen. Also, it is wonderfully positive!

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  9. Bang on! Congrats on your excellent study of my people. 🇨🇿 We immigrated to Canada in the 80s, but my parents’ house still has all the stuff on your list, minus the house layout. My dad’s woodpile is super impressive! I agree the booze and fancy glass and ceramics are good additions. And my poor mom is definitely obsessed with pruvan. I thought she was the only one! I look forward to reading more. 😀

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  10. Perfect breakdown! My Moravian family immigrated to the US before Czechoslovakia became the Czech Rep. My whole life was shaped around making sure there wasn’t a pruvan!! LOL If anyone was sick, once a day at least, you’d have to cover up in blankets and my mom would “vyluftovat” or open all the windows to make sure the germy air would leave and fresh air would replace it. Also my parents would weird out all my friends by offering them papuce when they came over. Whenever we go home to visit, my parents come back with jars of skavarky and bottles of slivovice. We never travel anywhere without some sandwiches… usually rye bread with schnitzel. My dad was detained for a couple hours at the airport because my babicka (grandma) had hidden a salami in his luggage… My mom definitely has a collection of crystal glassware that is only used for new years eve or birthdays. I’m getting all nostalgic now! 🙂

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    1. That’s so cute about the salami and the papuče 😀 my (American) mom just weirds everyone out by making them take off their shoes. Now, though, I really understand how strange it is not to take off your shoes at home like so many Americans do. And the schnitzel is classic. I wrote in my post about Czech food how whenever we go hiking here, I’m mostly excited about the schnitzel and not the trip. 🙂

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  11. As a Canadian Czech (1968 at age5) I love the article. Papuce were not a big thing in our home, so I would put Becherovka in that slot (it cures everything). I would also add at least one beautiful, hand painted, ceramic tile to the list. Every one of our Czech family and friends has one, often in the kitchen. Door knobs…on one of our recent trips to Praha, my hubby (he is not Czech but Ukrainian) purchased a couple of antique knobs. In his haste to pack on our last day, he shoved them in his carry on bag. We flew from Praha to Amsterdam and then on to Toronto with very little time to catch our flight to Winnipeg. Airport security in Praha and Amsterdam thought nothing about door knobs in a carry on bag. But in Toronto the knobs were deamed “dangerous weapons”! While the security agent was demostrating how they could be used to kill, and threatening to confiscate them, we came close to missing our flight. With only 2 minutes before gate closure, my hubby managed to put the knobs in the mail and we made our flight. Moral; Czechs love their homeland, no matter where they make their home, and we all have a little piece of Cesko close at all times.

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    1. Hi Eliška – one thing I love about this part of the world is that they are so easy-going about some things that raise Americans’ blood pressure. For example, kids here walk around throwing small “fireworks” at the ground and making explosions; back in 2014 when I first heard it behind me while walking down a dimly-lit street, I was sure someone had a gun and my life was going to end. I promptly ran to a friend’s house, crying and panicking and then was told what it really was. I didn’t understand how such a thing is allowed to disturb the peace, but alas, many things – like drinking in every public space you can – is live and let live.

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  12. At my grandparents house, on the farm and later on when they moved to the city, in the mornings there were always at least 3 types of homemade Czech pastries on the kitchen table? They stayed there and were replenished from the wee hours of the morning until the table was cleared for lunch. Every meal was massive and needless to say, I would always put on a few pounds after every visit of more than a couple of days! My grandma was a great cook! Grandpa and Grandma Kovarik’s was always a real treat for all of us kids! Great memories! 🙂

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  13. My grandparents came from small towns in Slovakia near Trencin & I’ve been there years ago. My mother didn’t speak English until she learned it in first grade here. I often stayed with Czech cousins in Germany while doing my Junior year abroad in Italy & learned a lot of their customs & some of the language. I think that both Czech & Slovak people always felt close to the land & we always had a big garden while growing up. It has inspired many of the grandchildren into living much the same way.

    I was very close to my Babka & learned so much of life from her life & experiences. They came to this country around the beginning of the 20th Century & still kept close ties with relatives in the “old country”. I’m very proud of my Slovak heritage!

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  14. It’s really nice and informative article for person like me. I am Indian and visited Prague 3-4 times and feel like at home. People are very warm and helpful. Your article has helped me to enhance my knowledge. We Indians are common with Czech for stock of pickles 🙂 which we made during summer (mainly pickles made from mango which is called “King of Fruit” in India).

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  15. 2 out of 11 and that’s only because the dual flush toilet was already here when I moved in and that ikea tools set is a thing everyone should have.

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  16. well observed – love particularly the slippers and the draught obsession – that is true of most Eastern European nations. I have written a blog about ‘steady slippers’ – my memories of growing up as a female in Czechoslovakia. It’s that kind of details that makes up our cultural reference.

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  17. Not sure just my family or not but always a lot of plants, flowers and a Cactus or five.

    Also always a fine Czech pivo not too far away 🙂

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  18. As Czech I must say this is a really great and accurate article. When reading it, I looked behind my back on the door, which is open to předsíň, but also remembered, how much my everybody in my family hates, when I keep them open. Chuckled again, when i realized that this door is equipped with the exact door handle you showed 😀 When reading about papuče, I was like “Not in our flat, hardly have any… Oh, yeah we got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… 6 pairs, but that’s like nothing.”

    One more thing I hear often from foreigners is that they are surprised by the quantity of books in every Czech flat. Even less educated families, that you would expect not to read very much, usually have huge bookcases and you will always find some great classic authors in there…

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    1. that’s true about the books, but I didn’t want to assume… it’s seemed so silly to say “Czechs have more books than other people” since I can’t possibly know that! but thanks for your comment 🙂

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    1. Another point, you did not mention that is very different from USA is “sleeping culture”. Czech predominantly sleep in 100% cotton sheets and cover themselves with blankets filled with goose down or sheep wool.

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