Everybody in the Czech Republic knows about this custom: who fasts on Christmas Eve will see a golden pig in the evening. But what are its origins?
Our pagan ancestors used to celebrate a midwinter day, attributed to December 21. The shortest day of the year was considered the birth of the Sun god and arrival of fertile season. At the end of this day our ancestors ate roasted pork (we even say: dozlatova opečené - roasted till its golden), which was believed to give them some of the sun’s strength.
When Christian priests couldn’t get the habit out of people’s consciousnesses, they took the tradition as their own and commanded fasting on Christmas eve. In past parents even cut out shapes of pigs and projected them with various glasses on the wall to amuse their children and reward them for fasting.