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Smetana, Bartered Bride: Overture

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: A matrimonial marketplace.

The idea of the traditional CHRISTMAS CARP would not have been unusual to Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.

Even today, many eastern and northern European countries celebrate Christmas with fish on the table instead of a roasted bird or ham.

The Trebon region of Czechoslovakia is, even today, especially famous for the tasty fish that are grown in its many carefully tended ponds.

Shortly before Christmas, family members line up at the fishmongers, eager to pick out their sometimes still-alive Christmas dinner.

The fish is then taken home and kept in the bathtub, until a family member with a strong stomach can dispatch the poor fish.

A scale from the golden fish placed under the dinner plate is thought to be a sign of good luck for the year to come.

Today, the luck can even extend to fish themselves, as more and more often families release their CHRISTMAS CARP back into the ponds and rivers they came from!

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