Customs, Cultures and Traditions of the Czech Republic November 8, 2011 <ul><li>Group Members Include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jake Ross – Overview of family, marriage and children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>April Thompson – Role of Women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Julie White – Christmas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manni Tong – New acquaintances, proper etiquette and customs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rachel West – Communication patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The purpose of this presentation is to inform the audience of the complexities and intricacies of an unfamiliar culture. </li></ul></ul>
The Role of Family in the Czech Republic Culture Presented by Jake Ross The role of family in any culture is an important factor in the organization and hierarchy of the institution, however in the Czech Republic family becomes the thread of the woven institution.
Family Overview <ul><li>Family may be regarded as the single most important element in the Czech culture. While many components of the Czech Republic are completely different from that of the U.S., the idea of a family is very similar. </li></ul><ul><li>Marriage begins at very mature age, usually in the mid to late-20’s. </li></ul><ul><li>The wife generally watches and takes care of the children while the husband is at work. </li></ul><ul><li>Kids are taught important values and manners at an early age. </li></ul><ul><li>Families often spend holidays and Sunday’s together. These are important days in Czech culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Families generally spend a lot of time together when they can, as the importance of family is highly regarded. </li></ul>
Marriage <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Czech couples have recently begun to marry at a later age Before WWII, Czech’s often got married at an early age, before the man had begun a working career. Now, most marriages begin much later. </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting and beginning a relationship often calls for formal gestures and greetings between the two, but moving to informal means the relationship is close, and it is often gestured by the woman. </li></ul><ul><li>Although the Czech people are regarded as very reserved and informal, starting a family means breaking that barrier. </li></ul><ul><li>Although the importance of family is HUGE, the divorce rate is at 43.3%, not far from the U.S. rate of 45.8% </li></ul>
Raising Children <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Children are generally well-behaved in Czech culture. They are taught manners at a very early age and are instilled important family and social values. </li></ul><ul><li>Most families have recently settled on only having one child, a social norm that had been set at around 2 children. </li></ul><ul><li>Children are often watched after by their mother intently until they are old enough for school (3-6 year olds attend kindergarten). </li></ul><ul><li>Kids are taught at an early age, and throughout their immaturity of what is rude and what is not in the Czech culture. </li></ul>
Etiquette’s Learned <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>The Czech people are known for being very formal until building a strong enough relationship with another person to become informal. Becoming informal too quickly can offend the other person, as they might find it as a sign of disrespect. </li></ul><ul><li>Much like the U.S., greetings between two people include a handshake, eye contact, and a formal verbal greeting. </li></ul><ul><li>While at a social gathering or dinner, the Czech’s do not discuss business or work. They separate family/friend life with business life. </li></ul><ul><li>While being a guest at someone’s house for dinner, you are expected to arrive on time, remove shoes, dress well, remain standing until given instructions on where to sit, and not ask for seconds unless offered first. These are all signs of respect. </li></ul>
Fact’s <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Czech’s enjoy leisure time and the outdoors. </li></ul><ul><li>Beer consumption is the highest in the world in the Czech Republic. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of people do not attend church </li></ul><ul><li>Czech’s have a dark sense of humor, they joke about the government and themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>While we in the U.S. take pride in our diversity and people who are out of the norm, such as Lady Gaga, Czech elders will often look down on behaviors that are not the norm. </li></ul>
The Role of Women in the Czech Republic Culture Presented by April Thompson Women in the Czech Republic are viewed as an important and constant figure within the culture and are sought out to provide wisdom and guidance.
Role of the Grandmother <ul><li>The Babicka (grandmother) is the key figure in the family. The Grandmother is highly respected and very wise. </li></ul><ul><li>Grandmothers live with the younger generation to help them out because both parents are working. </li></ul><ul><li>Grandmothers hold a position of authority. </li></ul>
Role of Women <ul><li>Women make up 88% of the full time work force, 48% of these women think of themselves as the bread winners of the family. </li></ul><ul><li>Under the communist regime, women’s entitlements include equal pay for equal work, educational opportunities and maternity benefits. </li></ul><ul><li>When placing a woman in the work force, they not only have to work the job they are doing, but they also have to continue doing the traditional home duties as well. </li></ul>
Role of Women <ul><li>In 2005 the wage of Czech women was 73% of men's wage level. </li></ul><ul><li>Czech see gender differences as a part of nature resulting from biological differences. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though women were to have equal pay, when surveyed in 1991, 45% were said to have less pay then men in the same position. </li></ul>
Role of Women <ul><li>Women and men argue that women desire a focus on childbearing. </li></ul><ul><li>Women are encouraged to believe in themselves as their communist heritage encourages them to and to go for any profession they choose. </li></ul><ul><li>Czech women are idealistic and strong. </li></ul><ul><li>In today’s Czech Republic women are interested in politics so that they can address current and relevant issues at hand . </li></ul>
Christmas in the Czech Republic Presented by Julie White The US entertains a multitude of holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, and many others, which are all celebrated differently across cultures and respected as unique in their own right. The Czech Republic also celebrates and continues their unique holiday traditions. We chose to focus on their traditions surrounding Christmas.
Culture, Customs & Traditions Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok" which translates to “We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” and "Vesele Vanoce" (Merry Christmas) in Bohemian
The Christmas season begins on December 5 th , the eve of St. Nicholas Day. Three costumed characters dressed as St. Nicholas, who looks like Santa Clause, the Angel, and the Devil walk the streets and ask children if they were good. If they say yes and sing a song or recite a poem they get candy or other treats from the Angel. If they were to say no, they would get coal or a sack of potatoes, but most don’t say that. The Angel and the Devil represent good and evil. Christmas in the Czech Republic
<ul><li>Christmas is celebrated from December 24 th to the 26 th . It is a time for family and religious reflection for many, but those without family are usually invited to their neighbor’s homes’. If you find yourself spending the holidays with a family in the Czech Republic, be sure to follow the lead of your hosts. There are many traditions and superstitions that are very old and many are still practiced. For example, there should always be an even number of people at the table; an odd number brings bad luck or death. No one should sit with their back to the door. No one should ever get up from the dinner table before dinner is finished. It brings bad luck or death to the family. Everyone should finish everything on their plate. The first person to leave the table after dinner will be the first to die in the coming year-that is why everyone should get up from the table at the same time. </li></ul>Christmas Customs
It’s important to note that the Czech people take their traditions, customs, rituals, and even superstitions seriously. We might think some of them are silly or far fetched but we should take care not to offend them if we visit. There are two in particular that you would be hard pressed to find here in the United Stated. One says that an unmarried girl is supposed to throw a shoe over her shoulder and if it points to the door, she will marry within a year. Another says that an unmarried girl is supposed to shake an elder tree and if a dog barks, she will marry a man who lives in the direction of the barking dog. When communicating with the people of the Czech Republic have respect for their traditions and customs. Christmas Customs
New Acquaintances in the Czech Republic: Proper Etiquette and Customs Presented by: Manni Tong Knowing the proper etiquette when meeting people for the first time is paramount. The Czech Republic is no different from other cultures with it’s own set of customs and etiquette. The following slides will detail the proper way of greeting and communicating with new acquaintances.
Greetings: First Contact <ul><li>Between Men - Men shake hands when greeting one another while maintaining direct eye contact. A firm but fairly brief handshake is the norm. </li></ul><ul><li>Between Women - At a first meeting, a simple hello or nod of acknowledgment will do. In business and more formal situations shaking hands while maintaining direct eye contact is common. </li></ul><ul><li>Between Man and Woman - At a first meeting, a simple hello or nod of acknowledgment will do. In business and more formal situations shaking hands while maintaining direct eye contact is common. It’s best to wait for the women to offer her hand first. </li></ul>
Communication Style, Eye Contact and Personal Space <ul><li>Communication Style </li></ul><ul><li>Czechs tend to favor a more indirect communication style meaning they may go out of their way to avoid causing anyone embarrassment. </li></ul><ul><li>Humor plays a big role in communicating. Dirty jokes are quite common. </li></ul><ul><li>Loud voices during conversations is common. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eye Contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct eye contact is common when conversing. It is expected and appreciated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoiding eye contact is usually a sign of disrespect, disinterest, and may be considered bad manners or rude. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An arm’s length of personal space is normal when conversing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There tends to be little to no touching during conversation in business and formal settings. </li></ul></ul>
Meeting Places: Dining and Footwear <ul><li>Dining </li></ul><ul><li>When eating you should always wish your fellow diners dobrou chut’ .There is no equivalent to this term in English, although Bon Apetit is the closest. It’s a good idea to praise the food and to take a second helping. </li></ul><ul><li>In cheaper restaurants napkins are little more than scraps of paper. It’s usual to leave them on your plate after you’ve finished the meal. In more sophisticated establishments the napkin is more substantial (made of cloth) and its usual to put it on your lap and then leave it on the table at the end of the meal. </li></ul><ul><li>The common toast is Na zdraví! (To your health!). You’re supposed to look into the eyes of the person you are toasting. </li></ul><ul><li>Footwear </li></ul><ul><li>Footwear is important when visiting new acquaintances. </li></ul><ul><li>One should take off outdoor shoes when entering a Czech flat or house. The host say it’s okay, not to worry, but it’s normal practice to change your footwear. Even if you’re told to keep your shoes on you should at least go through the motions of taking them off – it shows good manners. </li></ul><ul><li>Czech hosts will have rows and rows of indoor footwear neatly arranged near the front door or in a box for shoes called a botník. They’ll offer something to put on your feet indoors, often sandal-like footwear. </li></ul>
Communication Patterns In Czech Republic Presented by: Rachel West Verbal and non verbal communication is an important part of communication in any culture including the Czech Republic.
Communication Patterns In Czech Republic-Business <ul><li>The CIA World Factbook states that 94.4% of the Czech Republic speaks Czech. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to form a powerful business bond one must understand the importance of the Czech’s use of verbal and non-verbal communication skills. </li></ul>
Non-verbal Communication <ul><li>Czech’s are private, formal and reserved. </li></ul><ul><li>Czech’s will always do what is necessary to protect anothers’ feelings and to avoid confrontation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Upon arrival of a business meeting one must shake hands upon entering and leaving a residence and maintain eye contact when doing so. </li></ul></ul>
Non-verbal Communication <ul><li>Always pay attention to facial expressions, body languages, eye contact and gestures. </li></ul><ul><li>If a Czech becomes quiet and shifts his/her eyes to the downward, they may be uncomfortable with something you have said. </li></ul>
Verbal Communication <ul><li>One should always refer to Czech’s formally until instructed otherwise. </li></ul><ul><li>Expect to engage in small talk before business is discussed. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Czech’s tend to take an indirect method to business deals, so small talk will allow them to check your trustworthiness. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If a Czech extends an invitation to you, always except. Business deals are almost always made outside of the office. </li></ul><ul><li>Business is conducted slowly. Make sure to speak clearly, slowly and with patience. It may take many meetings for a Czech to make a decision. Most business deals are made from a hierarchy, and decisions are made at the top of the company. </li></ul>
Conclusion <ul><li>The people of the Czech Republic appear to be very proud of their customs and traditions and very dedicated to family and friends. When visiting the Czech Republic it would be wise and respectful to follow as many of their customs and traditions as you can. When meeting them for the first time, it would be appropriate to say hello or, “ahoj”. If they offer their hand, shake it. If they don’t, the verbal greeting is fine. They believe in being very formal until the relationship is much more familiar. They tend to be private, formal, reserved, and polite. It’s usually safe to just follow their lead rather than do whatever we would normally do here in the United States as we tend to be more informal and we never want to offend anyone, even if it’s unintentional. </li></ul>
References <ul><li>Milivojevic, JoAnn. 2004. Czech Republic, Enchantment of the World second Series. United States: Children’s Press, Division of Scholastic Inc. </li></ul><ul><li> Sioras, E. and Spilling, M. 1997. Cultures Of The World, Czech Republic. Tarrytown, New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. </li></ul><ul><li>Jodie R. Gorrill, 2007, A Czech Culture overview, Communicaid, Retrieved November 6, 2011, from http://www.communicaid.com/%5Ccross-cultural-training%5Cculture-for-business-and-management%5Cdoing-businessin%5CCzech_business_culture.php . </li></ul><ul><li>The World Factbook, October 21, 2011, Czech Republic, Central Intelligence Agency, Retrieved November 6, 2011 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ez.html . </li></ul><ul><li>Holidays and Traditions. My Czech Republic. Retrieved Nov. 1, 2011, from </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.myczechrepublic.com/culture/holidaysandtraditions . </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.culturecrossing.net/basics_business_student_details.php?Id=7&CID=55 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.expats.cz/prague/article/czech-culture/czech-etiquette/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/czech.html </li></ul>
References cont. <ul><li>Alzmann, D. (2011). Czech republic . Retrieved from http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Czech-Republic.html </li></ul><ul><li>Czech republic - language, culture, customs and etiquette . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/czech.html </li></ul><ul><li>Czech republic culture . (2009). Retrieved from http://www.my-prague-sights.com/czech-republic-culture.html </li></ul>
Questions <ul><li>Give three examples of traditions (or superstitions) that the Czech people practice during the Christmas holidays that we don't practice in the United States or that you wish we did". </li></ul><ul><li>What are the similarities between the Czech Republic and the United States when it comes to family relationships and communication? </li></ul><ul><li>Czech women are supposed to have equal rights but it seems that they are under paid compared to men, they are to work and also take care of the home life, how would you feel about this if this was you? </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecting on your own experiences and routines when meeting new acquaintances, how do they differ and how are they similar to Czech customs? </li></ul>