One of the Czech Christmas traditions is watching fairy tales on TV. Around Christmas time, all Czech channels show fairy tales virtually 24/7. All generations of families watch them together–over and over and over–and enjoy seeing the good guy win for the 74th time.
This is actually a really cute tradition, at least if you are not thinking about the “seemingly positive” messages in those fairy tales. Once you start analyzing the plots, you can’t see past the cliches.
Some of them clearly bring out the demons of Czech history, much like the skepticism about Santa I blogged about yesterday. You can’t help but notice that the bad guy is almost always either German or Russian. When I watched a fairy tale marathon with my niece, I had a hard time explaining to her why the prince always picks the prettiest girl–at first sight–without even pretending he likes her for who she is. In the Czech version of Cinderella, the prince doesn’t even recognize her when she is not wearing an evening dress. In fact, he makes fun of her. Then, you always have the evil stepmother with the evil stepsister, who–thank goodness–is never as pretty as the main character and thus, her prospects to marry well are murky. (Photo: Greedy stepmother/homely stepsister combo from the Czech movie version of Cinderella).
Needless to say, gym memberships go up exponentially after the holidays.