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Slovakian Christmas Dinner Tradition: Carp in a Bathtub
Wide Open Spaces
A traditional Christmas dinner in Slovakia is breaded carp, cabbage and sausage soup, and potato salad. But before the carp is killed, it must live in your bathtub. Thatís right, in many homes in Slovakia right before Christmas the homes of Slovakians will often have pet carp swimming around in bathtubs.
No one quite knows where this tradition began, but it is believed that living in freshwater before being eaten cleanses the digestive system of the bottom-feeding carp. Although it may take longer than a few days to cleanse the fish, according to fisheries scientist Patrick Cooney, it surely must taste less muddy and if you think about it, is quite brilliant.
Fish have long been symbols of Christianity and having a carp live in your house is supposed to bring you luck. Another reason Eastern Europeans may have kept fish in their bathtubs was due to lack of refrigeration.
However this tradition began, it is still practiced today in many countries in Eastern Europe.