EXPAT VOICES: Mushroom picking, lots of beer, and slippers at home – you reveal your new Czech habits

We asked you which Czech habits you have adopted since moving here, and got a variety of answers!

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 08.11.2022 15:06:00 (updated on 31.07.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Last week, we asked you which Czech habits you may have picked up since moving to the Czech Republic, and we got some very interesting responses. Many of you have adapted to the more obvious beer-loving, slipper-wearing, mushroom-picking habits while others pointed to more subtle changes in language, dress, and social habits.

Not everyone, though, has picked up entirely positive habits. Shrinking from customer-service situations or becoming more pessimistic than before was also reported.

We've rounded up some of the most common responses from our survey as well as some more surprising answers to the question: which Czech habits have you adopted since moving here?

Exploring the great outdoors

Mushroom picking in the forest. Photo: iStock / PIKSEL
Mushroom picking in the forest. Photo: iStock / PIKSEL

“Mushroom picking with my wife and father-in-law is always fun....and still a challenge,” wrote Ryan.

Many of you mentioned going mushroom picking – this has been a historic Czech pastime for the past few centuries. The average Czech household picks over 8 kilograms of mushrooms every year, and two-thirds of all Czechs say they go mushroom picking every year!

Many Czechs love exploring the outdoors; it is customary for people who live in cities to go on a “výlet,” a one-day or weekend trip to an outdoorsy place to hike. Bohemian Switzerland, Krkonoše Mountains, and Divoká Šárka are popular examples. Fanni concurred writing, "I go hiking more and more," while Brian added that "cycling and hiking on the weekends" had become important pastimes.

Life at home

An example of bačkory, a type of Czech slippers. Oveckarna.cz
An example of bačkory, an example of Czech slippers. Oveckarna.cz

Wearing slippers at home and removing shoes when visiting someone else’s was one the most frequent responses. This is common practice in Central and Eastern Europe – with its origins being traced back to Russia

Respondent Ryan agreed: “Removing shoes when entering a home is the biggest everyday adaptation.” Fanni said she's always in socks and slippers at home, but also pointed out another household habit she's adopted. "I'm tending more and more plants in my flat, because for some reason everyone loves plants here in the Czech Republic."

Other changes in habit related more to current events rather than Czech tradition. An anonymous respondent said, "I wear all my warm clothes at home."

Another respondent chose to comment on what goes one behind closed doors saying he's experienced increased fun in the bedroom compared to his native country: "I have sex at least one day a week (even after 25 years of marriage)," wrote Brian.

Acting like the Czechs do

Stationery store. (photo: Wikimedia commons, Zákupák)
Stationery store. (photo: Wikimedia commons, Zákupák)

Greetings of “dobrý den” and farewells of “ na shledanou” when entering and leaving any public premises are customary in Czechia, and several people mentioned this acquired habit of greeting people.

An anonymous respondent said “Saying ‘dobrý den’ to neighbors, shopkeepers, restaurant staff,” had become the norm while another expat said he found such a gesture a shining example of Czech kindness.

“Czechs are a pretty dour group on the whole, but even with a straight face, saying ‘dobrý den’ is a simple and kind gesture to acknowledge another person's presence,” Ryan writes.

Some of you reported a change in speaking habits! "I have started automatically doing this 'Hm hm hmm' sound that Czech people make when thinking about something," wrote Aaron.

However, public interaction has not been rosy for everyone.

"Now I am scared to speak to public employees, bartenders, waiters, and to employees in a customer-oriented position. Their fierce looks, anger, and unwillingness to help have traumatized me in a way."

- Daniel

Czech delicacies: carp, rohlík, and fried cheese

Several of you mentioned the Czech dishes that are now a regular part of your diet: the (in)famous carp that is fished and placed in baths before Christmas, filling up on fried cheese, and eating the trusty rohlík (a Czech crescent roll).

Rohlík bread rolls can be found in any Czech bakery / photo iStock @hamikus
Rohlík bread rolls can be found in any Czech bakery / photo iStock @hamikus

“I eat Czech traditional food for Christmas as I spend it with my boyfriend and his family,” said an anonymous commenter. David shared that he eats "carp just for Christmas tradition and harking back to a simpler time!"

Brian has made it a habit of sitting down for a weekend meal. "I go for Czech Saturday and Sunday lunch," he said. Najeeba packs a rohlík with her lunch.

Keeping it traditional

Czechs, when meeting the opposite sex, often like to kiss each other on the cheek. Jennifer confirmed that she had started doing the same when meeting friends.

Kissing on a romantic level was also mentioned. James said he was an eager adopter of “svátek zamilovaných” (“Lover’s Day” or the Czech version of “Valentine’s Day”) commonly celebrated in Czechia on the first day of May every year.

During Easter, Czechs also take part in “pomlázka” – the act of gently whipping girls with willow twigs. Some Czechs also pour water on people as part of the tradition, which takes place on Easter Monday.

“Pivo any day and time”

“I increased my beer consumption from 2 to 5 mugs,” Milan wrote, while an anonymous respondent mentioned “drinking beer outside even if it’s cold.”

Czechs are no strangers to beer – something that, judging by our survey, expats have become very accustomed to. Home to the beloved Pilsner Urquell, Czechia has the highest beer consumption in the world per capita. A survey found that Czechs prefer beer to spirits and other liquors, with many enjoying drinking at home.

“I started drinking more and more beer, even though I hated beer in my country.”

- Fanni

Czechia has over 70 different types of beer, with production dating back to the 10th century. Czechs enjoy a variety of beer types: light (“lehké”), draught (“výčepní”), and (“ležák”), with draught beer being the most popular in the country. They also pour foam in three distinct ways!

With beer, mushrooms, slipper-wearing, and outdoor trips being commonplace in Czech life, which Czech habit will you pick up next? Perhaps it's time for a pivo while you think about it.

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