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How Do Czechs Celebrate Christmas in Prague?

Christmas in Prague is a magical time filled with festive traditions and enchanting decorations. The Czechs have a unique way of celebrating this special holiday, blending centuries-old customs with modern twists. Let’s delve into the enchanting world of Christmas in Prague and discover how the Czechs make this season truly unforgettable.

**Christmas Markets**

One of the hallmark features of Christmas in Prague is the enchanting Christmas markets that pop up all around the city. These markets, known as “Vánoční trhy,” offer an array of handcrafted gifts, traditional Czech foods, and mulled wine. The main Christmas markets are located in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, where visitors can shop for wooden toys, glass ornaments, and intricate lacework. The festive ambiance is heightened by the twinkling lights, fragrant scent of roasted chestnuts, and the sound of carolers singing traditional Czech Christmas songs.

**Czech Christmas Eve Traditions**

Christmas Eve, known as “Štědrý den,” is the most important day of the Czech Christmas celebrations. Families gather together for a festive meal that typically consists of fish soup, fried carp, potato salad, and a variety of sweet pastries. Before dinner, a thin wafer called “hostie” is shared among family members, symbolizing unity and forgiveness. After the meal, families exchange gifts and attend midnight mass at churches across Prague.

**Traditional Czech Decorations**

Czechs take great pride in decorating their homes for Christmas, incorporating traditional elements such as handmade straw ornaments, wooden figurines, and intricately painted glass baubles. The most iconic Czech decoration is the “Betlém,” a nativity scene that often features intricate wooden figures and miniature landscapes. Many Czech families also decorate their Christmas trees with a mix of homemade and store-bought ornaments, creating a cozy and festive atmosphere in their homes.

**Feast of St. Nicholas**

On December 5th, Czech children eagerly await the arrival of St. Nicholas, who is accompanied by the devil and the angel. St. Nicholas rewards well-behaved children with sweets and small gifts, while the devil may play tricks on those who have been naughty. This festive tradition is a beloved part of Czech Christmas celebrations, with costumed actors roaming the streets of Prague to delight children and adults alike.

**Christmas Concerts and Performances**

Throughout the holiday season, Prague comes alive with a variety of Christmas concerts and performances that showcase the rich musical heritage of the Czech Republic. From classical concerts at historic churches to modern interpretations of traditional carols, there is no shortage of festive entertainment to enjoy. The Prague Christmas markets also feature live music performances, with local musicians serenading visitors as they shop and sample delicious Czech treats.

**Conclusion: Embracing Czech Christmas Spirit**

Christmas in Prague is a magical time when the city transforms into a winter wonderland filled with festive cheer and traditional customs. From the enchanting Christmas markets to the elaborate nativity scenes, the Czechs have a deep-rooted reverence for the holiday season that is truly infectious. By embracing the unique traditions and customs of Czech Christmas, visitors can experience the warmth and hospitality of this enchanting city during the most wonderful time of the year.

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