Christmas in Prague

Prague Christmas Markets 2019

The Prague Christmas markets are open every day from November 30,  2019 to January 6, 2020, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
The main markets are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (a short walk from each other).  There are also smaller markets on the Square of the Republic, at Havel's Market, on Kampa Island, and on the square in front of St. George's Basilica at Prague Castle.The Prague Castle Christmas market opens already on November 23, 2019.

Christmas traditions in the Czech Republic are special and children look forward to this holiday all year.  The first indication of what is to come is the wonderful, sweet scent coming from the kitchens of most households.  A few weeks prior to Christmas, ladies start baking the traditional "vanocni cukrovi", the Christmas cookies.  There are many, many different variations but all taste heavenly.  Vanilkove rohlicky - Vanila moons, vosi hnizda - wasp nests, rumove kulicky - rum balls, pracny - chocolate flavoured cookies - just to name a few.  They have to "sit" for a few weeks to gain their best flavour, therefore, the baking experts start early.

Christmas in Prague and the Czech Republic is celebrated from December 24 and for the next 2 days.  Christmas Eve, children must fast - if they don't, they will not see the "zlate prasatko" - the golden pigglet.  To be honest, in my family, we never saw it.  Too many Christmas cookies!  :-)  Most people come home early from work, if they go to work at all, for preparation of a very private, family dinner and to welcome "Jezisek".  See, Jezisek - baby Jesus, is coming to decorate the tree and place the many presents under it.  Dinner is usually early and the tradition is that it consists of fried carp, delicious potato salad, preceded by a fish soup and followed by those wonderful Christmas cookies.  Children listen for the tell-tale bell which signals that Jezisek has finished his job and they can enter the room that has been off limits to them all day!  The sight is something to behold.  A lit up Christmas tree, decorations not only made of our wonderful hand blown glass but also wrapped, colorful chocolate ornamets, lit candles and lots of presents.  The presents are opened right then and there.

At midnight, many people go to church for the Midnight Mass - a tradition.

Next day is reserved for visiting relatives, other friends and basically continuing with the eating and celebrating.  Children show off their presents to their cousins and friends that "Baby Jesus" brought them.  Now we serve the goose or duck, lots of beer and wine and much more.  The "Day of St. Stevens", December 26th, is a continuation of the same.  People usually work only a halfday on December 24th.  December 25th and 26th are national holidays.  All large supermarkets, banks and public offices are closed.

The Chrismas Carrol about the Good King Wenceslas is about our patron saint and sung all over the Christian world.