Czechs have a saying: Jak na Nový rok, tak po celý rok, which means “As on the New Year, so for the whole year.” This belief has led to many of their New Year’s traditions. One tradition that I can gladly embrace is cleaning your home until it sparkles. The whole family takes part, making sure everything gets cleaned before the end of the day. It is also traditional to wear new clothes, have money in your pocket, and to eat bean soup (beans representing coins).
A New Year’s Eve tradition for Czechs is to eat a piece of herring before midnight, believing that it will bring good luck for the following year. When this tradition originated, herring was costly owing to the country’s distance from the sea (the Czech Republic is landlocked). So the basic idea is to eat expensive fish, thereby having your luck altered so that you can enjoy a more prosperous year.
[From Good King Wenceslas to the Good Soldier Švejk: A Dictionary of Czech Popular Culture, Andrew Lawrence Roberts]