Enjoy a Magical Christmas in the Czech Republic

Czech RepublicIf you want to get yourself in the mood for Christmas then why not head to the Czech Republic to enjoy a little festive cheer? Festivities begin on the 28th November when Christmas trees are lit up on town squares, cities are covered in Christmas decoration and the craft markets open.  There is no more magical Christmas tree in the world than that at Prague Castle. While if you want to get your Christmas shopping done, there is an abundance of unusual gifts available at the traditional craft markets.  There are displays of old Czech crafts such as woodcarving of sculptures and wooden kitchen utensils, making of straw Christmas ornaments and straw dolls, pottery, beeswax candles, original jewellery, and glass Christmas-tree decorations. A little bell made on the spot by a blacksmith in their stall could be an original Czech souvenir. Should you become hungry while shopping taste some traditional delicacies. Those with a sweet tooth will certainly enjoy the ‘trdelník’ (sweet pastry made from rolled dough usually topped with sugar and walnut mix) or roasted chestnuts. Visitors prefering something more savoury can try some meat dishes such as various kinds of sausages accompanied with Czech bread. And finally to keep yourself warm purchase a hot drink – a cup of mead, mulled wine or punch are typical for this time of year. For those who want to celebrate the religious nature of the holiday season there are thousands of nativity scenes displayed around the Czech Republic in the Advent time. Even live nativity scenes with real donkey and sheep can be seen on squares. The Czech Republic also has several museums that specifically focus on nativity scenes. Probably the most famous “Mecca” of nativity scenes is Třebechovice pod Orebem.  The collections of this museum include over 300 nativity scenes created from various materials, the most prized of which is Probošt’s mechanical nativity scene. It is created from more than 2,000 mechanical parts.  The Museum of Paper Crèches in Zábrdí u Husince in Southern Bohemia is undoubtedly worth seeing. There are around 800 paper crèches created all around the world. The biggest crèche measures almost 4 metres, while the smallest can fit in a matchbox. The museum is open all year round and admission is free. Christmas in the Czech Republic also means listening to Christmas and Advent melodies. This year people will sing carols together on Pilsen’s main square on the 15th December. As with every year it will be the largest mass carolling in the Czech Republic. Czech Christmas is inherently connected with the Czech Christmas Mass by Jakub Jan Ryba, Czech composer from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Estates Theatre in Prague will present this work, also known as Hail, Master! on the 19th December. Then on 25th December you will have the opportunity to listen to the Czech Christmas Mass played by the Prague Chamber Orchestra in the Church of St. Simon and St. Jude on Dušní Street in Prague. The Prague State Opera will also be performing classical Czech Christmas pieces for its audiences. The Kühn Children’s Choir will sing songs from the works of Bohuslav Martinů, Vítězslav Novák, Zdeněk Lukáš, Petr Eben and Václav Trojan. For that final bit of cultural magic, take some time to visit the Czech castles and chateaux, such as Křivoklát, which are open to public during Christmas time. From the 1st December, visitors will also be able visit the Museum of Nativity Scenes. You can enjoy the festive atmosphere at Loket Castle as well on the 10th and 11th December when the traditional craft markets will take place at the castle courtyard.Then on the 18th December let yourself be enchanted by Baroque atmosphere of Wallenstein-style Christmas at the Mnichovo Hradiště chateau. Alternatively, special Christmas tours are prepared from 26th to 31th December at the chateau in Horšovský Týn. Christmas tours are also held on the first three Advent weekends at the Hořovice Chateau. You will be welcomed by guides in costumes who will relate to you the history of Christmas, its traditions, and Advent. Need to get into the Christmas spirit?  Get yourself to the Czech Republic!  You’ll be willingly partaking in festive cheer in no time!

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About Charlotte J

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