Czech Cities Come to Life with Easter Markets

Znojmo City

Znojmo City

The Czech Republic is one of the most popular places visited by European and American Westerners alike.  If you are taking a trip this Easter check out some of the beautiful Easter Markets – they are simply not to be missed!  An Easter Market is held every year in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in Prague. Stalls with souvenirs and Easter products lure locals and visitors alike from 20 March to 11 April. In addition to shopping, an interesting cultural programme awaits. Spectators will enjoy folklore, folk music and dance in Old Town Square. There will also be a workshop for children, providing the youngest ones the possibility to braid switches into so-called “pomlázky” (birch rods) and to dye eggs.

Market places will of course sprout up in a variety of places in the Czech Republic. The South Moravian city of Znojmo, for instance, will celebrate the spring holidays from 29 March to 4 April. Easter markets filled with artisans, culture and attractions for children are being prepared. Children also can look forward to tours of Znojmo underground designed specially for them. www.znojmocity.cz

In Ceský Krumlov, Easter markets are held from 1 to 5 April and the attractive programme will be complemented this year by passion plays in the monastery garden. www.ckrumlov.info

People can also celebrate Easter at castles and chateaus. From 3 to 5 April, the event titled Princely Easter at Krivoklát will take place. You can expect to see an Easter market and concerts as well as masses and theatre performances. www.krivoklat.cz

At Buchlov castle in the Slovácko region, Easter markets will last from 4 to 5 April. Children and adults will enjoy an attractive cultural programme here, too. www.hrad-buchlov.cz

An Easter fair with period stalls and cultural attractions will be held on 3 April at Veltrusy chateau, which is surrounded by a park with beautiful pavilions. Sports people are sure to arrive by bike as the international bike trail Prague–Dresden leads through the chateau park. www.zamek-veltrusy.cz

Zamek Veltrusy

Zamek Veltrusy

If you like anything that is “the best” of its kind, welcome spring in the Museum of Records and Curiosities Pelhrimov, which happens to be the only one of its kind in Central Europe. There you will see a number of unique exhibits including those with an Easter theme—for example, an Easter egg glued together from an unbelievable 4,877 matches and 9,988 match heads, a tiny birch rod made of hair and, conversely, an enormous birch rod almost 6 metres long. www.dobryden.cz

If you want to discover more about traditional Easter customs, be sure to head to an open-air museum. The open-air museum in Prerov nad Labem in Central Bohemia, for example, will be brought to life with the exhibition “Spring in the Village” (“Jaro na vsi”). It starts on 21 March and lasts until 10 May. polabskemuzeum.cz

Music fans also will relish an Easter holiday in the Czech Republic. An Easter concert will be held at the Estates Theatre on 2 April, filling the halls with the music of the Italian Baroque master Antonio Vivaldi. www.narodni-divadlo.cz

The Prague Easter Festival will feature nine concerts altogether that will take place in the Church of St. Simon and St. Jude and in Smetana Hall of the Municipal House from 30 March until 14 April. www.fok.cz

The Easter Festival of Sacred Music will take place from 28 March to 11 April in three cathedrals in Brno. www.mhf-brno.cz

Spring is ideal for regeneration of body and mind. This is very well known at Czech spas, and that is why many of them have prepared special spring and Easter packages. Select the place for your spring spa holiday at www.czechtourism.com, where you can download a free spa catalogue in Czech, English, German or Russian, or at www.spas.cz.

Easter is the most important Christian holiday, and its celebration in the Czech Republic is commemorated especially in that spirit. At the same time, however, a number of popular customs and traditions pervade. Among the most characteristic is the “pomlázka” on Easter Monday. In this tradition, boys and men visit their classmates, girl friends and neighbours to symbolically lash them with switches braided into a so-called “pomlázka” (birch rod). In certain regions, local girls are splashed with cold water rather than whipped. Though this tradition is typically enjoyed more by men, women do not entirely resist: after all, it is supposed to bring them beauty and vivacity for the entire next year. This is also why they even reward their assailants with coloured eggs, sweets and refreshments. In villages, the custom of walking around the neighbourhood with rattles and clappers has remained to this day. These noisemakers, rather than bells, are used to call worshippers to church, as from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday the bells fall silent in token of the mourning for Christ’s martyrdom.

You cannot taste these Easter treats at any other time of the year, so be sure not to miss out! Try the “lamb” sponge-cake with sugar or chocolate frosting, sweet buns from yeast dough, Easter gingerbread cookies, Easter dressing with young nettles, spring vegetable soup, sweet rolls (“jidáše”, or Judas rolls) glazed with honey, or crunchy fried “God’s graces” coated in powdered sugar.

About Charlotte J

Graduate, journalist, blogger and follower of all things media.