During the Christmas period and the New Year, the Czech capital attracts hundreds of thousands many of whom want to experience classic Prague over the holidays: mulled wine, romantic walks and more. The same is being appreciated this year, of course, but Prague City Tourism is also putting an emphasis on new hip districts with new eateries, cafes, galleries and other sites people also might want to visit.
In his Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman highlighted the country’s economic successes, telling Czechs they had much to be proud of. As regards the country’s political future, Miloš Zeman ruled out early elections, telling politicians they would have to play the cards they had been dealt in the elections.
One of the staples of Czech Christmas, along with fried carp, Christmas cookies and fairy tales, is Jakub Jan Ryba’s Christmas Mass. The mass composed by a small-town teacher in 1796 has become the most popular piece of Czech Christmas music ever written. It is performed in churches, concert halls and resounds in millions of Czech homes during the Christmas season. So on Christmas Eve, we would like to share this musical experience with you and have selected a 1998 recording that has been hailed as the best recording of the Czech Christmas Mass
The Czech Christmas Mass was performed for the 17th year in succession at
Prague’s busy Main Train Station on Saturday afternoon. Musicians and
choir members were joined by scores of members of the public in a rendition
of the pastoral mass by composer Jan Jakub Ryba.
Dozens of choristers were conducted by the organiser of the pre-Christmas event, Lukáš Prchal. The composition, known colloquially as “Rybovka”, was also performed with public participation on Kampa, beneath Prague’s Charles Bridge.
Imported fir trees from Poland are taking an increasing share of the
Christmas tree market in the Czech Republic, forcing prices down, iDnes.cz
A representative of the Association of Christmas Tree Cultivators told the news website that large growers from Denmark had established new plantations in Poland some years back and the trees were now ready for sale.
Firs have long been the most popular Christmas trees in the Czech Republic, winning out over spruce and pine trees. However, if Czechs are keen to buy local the latter should be easier to find, iDnes.said.
This time of year, cities in Central Europe are vying to attract tourists to their Christmas markets, New Year's Eve celebrations, and other seasonal attractions. If you are tired of large crowds and are looking for something more authentic, we might have a tip for you: leave the big cities and head for one of the small towns deep in the Czech countryside. You may get a lesson in living history and even be in for an exotic surprise!
Few people know that Good King Wenceslas, one of the best-known Christmas carols in the English-speaking world sung on the Feast of Saint Stephen, refers to a Bohemian duke who ruled in the 10th century. Good King Wenceslas is none other than St. Václav, the patron saint of the Czech nation. Paradoxically, the carol is almost unknown in this country.
Some two fifths of Czechs are planning to visit a church over Christmas,
even if they don’t regard themselves as Christians, suggests a survey by
the STEM agency released on Thursday.
According to the poll, less than one tenth of Czechs attend a church at least once a month.
Around 33 percent of respondents said they believe in God, a six-percentage point drop compared to 1995, when the agency carried out the first such poll.
Twenty-five years since the Czech and Slovak republics split in the Velvet Divorce, both continue to share remarkably close ties. Not surprisingly, tourism plays a key role, with Czech visitors, for example, making up for more than a third of foreign tourists in Slovakia a year. While the Czech Republic may have the edge in the number of castles and chateaux, sites such as the Tatra Mountains or Slovak Paradise remain major draws for Czechs.
The NGO People in Need is active in more than 30 countries the world over, giving immediate aid in humanitarian crises, helping communities threatened by malnutrition, helping the poor to find a livelihood, fighting violence against women and helping give children an education. One of its successful fundraising projects is Give a Real Gift which motivates thousands of people to think of those less fortunate not only during the Christmas season. I spoke with Jan Svitalek of People in Need and began by asking him to explain the NGO’s Real Gift