Carp for Christmas and other Czech traditions
Fish are flipping, flopping, and flying through the air as I watch the start of the annual carp harvest in the Czech Republic.
It’s the first weekend of October and a large crowd has gathered on the shore of Rožmberk Pond, the biggest of almost 1,000 artificial ponds in the Třeboň wetlands. Rožmberk is so big that locals jokingly refer to it as the South Bohemia Sea.
“People have been fishing carp since 1584 at this pond,” says Jan Regenda, a university professor who comes every year to watch.
Three weeks earlier, fishers began to drain the pond and pump oxygen into the water to lure the carp closer to the shore. Now, the fishers – mostly men dressed in rubber rain gear and gloves – scoop up the squirming carp, weigh and sort them.
The mood is festive. People mingle, drink beer and dip deep-fried carp ‘chips’ into mayonnaise. “One hundred years ago, they sent a special train from Prague,” Jan adds. Today, it’s an easy 1.5-hour drive south of the capital.
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