Prague never passes up an excuse to host a good party. The “Golden City” enjoys “Masopust”, which literally translates to “goodbye to meat” or “meat fast”. While Rio celebrates Carnival, the cold winter days in Prague are warmed up by a time of dancing masks in the street, opulent balls and keeping with Czech fashion, a lot of meat and beer. The Masopust is one of the few authentic traditional events with a long history in Czech Republic. The first mention of it dates back to the 13th century. Saying goodbye to winter, celebrating fertility and spring are some of the themes that play out in the Masopust festival.
Nowadays, people take part in a modern interpretation of the traditional feast days before the fasting period of Lent. The Lent period begins on Ash Wednesday before Easter. If you happen to be in Prague the second week of February, you will have the opportunity to participate in a truly magical experience. The Czech capital will immerse you in the whirl of masks, clowns and acrobats. In addition to this fun on the street, the festival offers various carnival-themed masked balls, and many restaurants around the city have special Masopust menus.
If you would like to experience the true Masopust carnival fun, head to Žižkov, the district on the outskirts of Prague’s city center. According to the British journal, The Guardian, Žižkov’s mask parade is the 3rd most popular tourist attraction in Prague. It features a performance, games and dancing as well as carnival treats. Žižkov has been setting the pace of the annual Masopust celebrations for more than 2 decades, with each year’s more elaborative celebration, which draws a larger crowd every year. Žižkov was actually one of the first in the city to resurrect the tradition in the 1990s, after Communism fell--the carnival celebration was unfortunately banned by the regime. Jugglers, firefighters, musicians, actors and puppeteers will lead a costume parade from Jiřího z Poděbrad Square, a large open square that conveniently has a metro stop by the same name on the green (A) line. The parade starts at noon at 4 p.m. Žižkov usually kicks off the festivities with a pig roasting outside the Town Hall, passing out free portions to reward people wearing masks. You should also get your hands on typical carnival treats such as roasted pork with goulash, blood sausages and soup.
So do not forget to put on the mask and join Prague’s carnival “Masopust”. We guarantee you that you are going to have fun.
The picture above is the courtesy of www.czechtourism.com.
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