Christmas 2014: Fish swims in bathtub before for days being eaten in Slovakia
A fisherman throws a fish during the traditional carp haul in the village of Stankov, near the south Bohemian town of Trebon. Reuters

Christmas is almost here and families are busy preparing the best dishes of the year. Every country has its own traditional dishes with which to celebrate the holiday season.

Eastern Europe, however, starts celebrating the festive season days before by letting a fish swim in their bathtub, before turning it into Christmas Eve dinner.

The Christmas crap tradition started centuries back in Slovakia and its neighbouring countries including Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and Croatia, Meghan Sullivan wrote in The Salt.

According to Sullivan, Slovakian tradition mandates that the "Christmas carp must first swim in the family bathtub for at least a day or two before being killed, cleaned and prepared."

The bathtub carp tradition is only one of many followed on Christmas Eve. Apparently many feel sorry to kill a live fish and let it go.

"In my childhood, I remember thinking 'poor carp,'" one Bratislava resident told The Salt.

Local people believe the bathtub fish tradition can be explained scientifically. According to them, the carp being a bottom feeder contains mud and dirt which gets washed away when in swims in clean bathtub water.

The tradition also helps in keeping the fish fresh till dinner time. Traditionally, it is the father of the family who takes the crap out of the tub and cleans it before cooking.

The fish is then sliced into horseshoe shaped portions to bring good luck, and soaked in milk to lessen its fishy smell before the main dish is prepared.