Christmas markets in the Czech Republic
start at the end of November and carry
on until the beginning of January.
Czechs celebrate Christmas on Christmas
Eve, i.e. December 24. The festive meal
served that day consists of fish soup
and fried carp accompanied by
traditional potato salad. Christmas carp
is one of the symbols of the Czech
Christmas, one of the reasons why one
can spot large tubs full of fish in the
streets of many Czech towns during
Christmas carols reverberate through the streets, stars of Bethlehem shine from
town squares, and fresh snow crunche underfoot. The scent of evergreen trees,
mulled wine and incense permeates city streets. It is Christmas time in the
Czech Republic. Christmas fairs and markets with unique gifts await tourists in
towns and cities as well as at castles and chateaux. Try some hot wine or mead
while observing the craftsmen at work demonstrating their traditional crafts and
trades. There is so much more to see outside the Czech capital with Christmas
markets taking place in many smaller Czech towns or in the courtyards of
numerous castles all over the country. There are nativity scenes, live
performances and Christmas concerts at cathedrals – coming together to create an
Christmas markets in the Czech Republic start at the end of November and carry
on until the beginning of January. Czechs celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve,
i.e. December 24. The festive meal served that day consists of fish soup and
fried carp accompanied by traditional potato salad. Christmas carp is one of the
symbols of the Czech Christmas, one of the reasons why one can spot large tubs
full of fish in the streets of many Czech towns during advent.
After the festive meal, the whole family turns to the decorate the Christmas
tree, where presents are left behind by baby Jesus in true Czech Christmas
tradition. At midnight, many churches conduct a special midnight mass. Delicious
Christmas cookies are an important part of Czech Christmas. Among the favorites
are vanilla rolls, vanocka – Christmas buns with almonds - butter cookies with
jam and beautifully decorated gingerbread.
If you happen to visit Prague during advent, make sure you take a walk through
the Old Town Square where the largest Christmas market takes place. There is
also a market in Wenceslas Square where you can enjoy shopping. Live
performances take place on the main stage; children’s choirs singing Christmas
carols are particularly memorable. Make sure you taste hot mead, an alcoholic
drink made of honey. The stalls which sell mead usually also offer a great range
of bee products, including honey and wax candles. If you are looking for a gift
for younger relatives, traditional Czech wooden toys on sale will delight them.
For shopping sprees, one must go to the Palladium Shopping Mall at Namesti
Republiky. The Christmas market held here has plenty to offer. Warm up with a
glass of hot wine, enjoy trdelnik – a special sweet pastry made of rising dough
and covered in sugar and almonds. While art-nouveau Municipal House (Obecni dum)
commands attention, a climb up the Powder Tower (Prasna brana) to enjoy a
wonderful view of Prague at Christmas is an absolute must.
Complete your itinerary with Christmas concerts
Your Christmas itinerary should include at least one classical music concert.
The ornate halls of the Rudolfinum Concert Hall or the Municipal House create
the perfect Christmas atmosphere. Classical music can also be heard in many of
the churches in Prague city centre including the St Simon’s and Jude’s Church (Kostel
sv. Simona a Judy) or St Nicholas’ Church (Kostel sv. Mikulase) in Old Town
Prague is unforgettable when covered in snow. If you take the steps leading from
the Charles Bridge to Kampa, you will discover romantic corners lit by beautiful
old fashioned street lamps. Inside the churches you will be able to admire
various nativity scenes, constructed to the smallest detail, fascinating both
children and adults.
Czech Christmas beyond Prague
You will be able to experience a traditional Czech Christmas at Zelny Market in
Brno. The local Christmas celebrations are inspired by Josef Luda’s paintings,
which have always been one of the symbols of the Czech Christmas. In addition to
the entertainment programmes for adults and children, market stalls also offer a
range of attractive products.
Cesky Krumlov is known as a fairy tale town throughout the year. But it is
during advent that it becomes even more special. The local Christmas market
which is held every weekend from Friday to Sunday starts on November 30 and runs
until January 6. Among the highlights of the programme for children are the
living nativity scene, St Nicholas or Christmas with the castle bears.
The Krivoklat Castle also offers an interesting programme, including dance and
theatre performances at the traditional Christmas market, where one can buy
gifts and souvenirs. To keep the chill away, there is plenty of hot mead and
wine available. The children can enjoy a steam train ride which runs to
Krivoklat from Prague and Plzen.