The Christmas spirit in Prague can be felt from the onset of Advent, which begins four weeks before Christmas Eve. As the Czech Christmas holidays are accompanied by many nice customs and traditions that still thrive, every week of advent, we will be introducing you to some of them and also keeping you updated about what is happening in Prague during this festive time. We just love those little walks in Christmas Prague. Streets are decorated with lights, Christmas trees stand proudly on Prague’s squares. Everything is so bright and peaceful in spite of the crowds you bump into on nearly every step.
Christmas tree lighting
A beautiful moment of the first Advent week is the lighting of the Christmas tree. In the late afternoon of November 29, thousands of people watched the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the crowded Old Town Square, admiring the richly decorated 20-meter-tall and 72-year-old spruce that comes from Nespeky, a small village in the Central Bohemian Region. This year, the tree is lit by 100,000 LED bulbs. The decorations are shaped as parcels, angels, apples and gingerbread.
St. Barbara’s Day - December 4
The holiday of St. Barbara is connected with cutting a few branches of a fruit tree referred to as ‘barborky’ and bringing them home. If those branches blossomed on the Christmas Eve it means that a single girl in the family will get married within a year. Today ‘barborky’ branches are still a typical pre-Christmas household decoration.
St. Nicholas’s Day - December 5
The charming tradition of St. Nicholas falls on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, 5th of December. If you find yourself walking the Prague streets in the evening, you may run into a group of weird looking characters: St. Nicholas, angel and Čert (devil). They all wear costumes, and later in the night the costumes look more and more frightening. We would recommend you to come to the Old Town Square where you can witness the tradition roughly between 5 – 8pm. It is fun, parents bring their kids there and Nicholas, angel and devil ask them if they were good during the year. Of course, most children say yes and sing a song or recite a short poem. For that Angel gives them sweets, candy or other treats.
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