The Lucerna Palace, long considered a beacon of Czech national pride has been celebrating its centenary this year without too much of the fanfare usually reserved for such occasions. Situated off Wenceslas Square in the very heart of Prague, and established by civil engineer, designer and builder Václav M. Havel in 1907, it was the first multi-purpose arcade of its kind ever to be built in this country.
It is a well-known fact that the traditional Czech heavy Christmas menu is a burden on the digestive system. Fewer people know, though, that fat is not only bad for the gall-bladder and arteries but can also cause problems to the sewage system. Especially in densely populated areas the sewer pipes and sewage treatment plants experience something of a fat overdose at Christmas time. The problem is faced by all cities and some have already taken measures against it.
One of the many Christmas masses celebrated over the past weekend was a mass for the Vietnamese community celebrated by Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka in Prague’s Žižkov district. It was dedicated to the Feast of the Holy Family and attended by over a thousand Vietnamese who have embraced the Christian faith.
Czechs and foreign nationals were able to visit traditional midnight masses on Christmas Eve at dozens of Catholic churches in the Czech capital. Some of the services were held in Italian, French and Vietnamese. Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, primate of the Czech Catholic Church, celebrated midnight mass at St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle and Bishop Václav Malý, a former dissident, led the mass at St Wenceslas Church in the Smíchov district. In some churches, ‘midnight’ masses were in fact not held at 12 am but several hours earlier.
A few days ago David Vaughan went to meet the Slavíčci – or Nightingales – one of Prague’s best-known children’s choirs. He talked to members of the choir about the rich tradition of Czech Christmas music, about why you might find yourself sharing your bath with a carp in the days before Christmas Eve, and what it’s like to sing beneath the towering Gothic vaults of Saint Vitus’ Cathedral. And, of course, the choir also brings us some of the best loved Czech carols, recorded especially for Radio Prague. That and more, in Radio Prague’s special Christmas
Christmas celebrations in the Czech Republic are muted in the wake of Vaclav Havel’s death. Many firms and institutions scrapped their Christmas parties and outdoor Christmas markets toned-down their events in a show of respect for the late president. Millions of Czechs will be sitting down to their traditional dinner of fried carp and potato salad on Saturday evening and for many people the events of the past few days will highlight the spiritual aspects of the holiday.
A week before Christmas Eve, Czech girl and boy scouts on Saturday began distributing the Light of Bethlehem around the country. The Light of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, arrived in the Czech Republic from Vienna on Friday, was first taken to St Vitus Cathedral in Prague where it was blessed by Archbishop Dominik Duka. On Saturday, scouts are distributing it by train to all corners of the Czech Republic for people to light their own candles. The tradition of the Light of Bethlehem first appeared in then Czechoslovakia in December, 1989.
One of the symbols of Christmas - the Bethlehem light –has arrived in the Czech Republic. The light is traditionally brought to the country from Vienna by Czech scouts and this year it was handed over to Bishop Vojtěch Cikrle at a special mass in Brno’s Cathedral of St. Peter and St Paul on Sunday. In the coming days it will be distributed all over the country for people to take home as a symbol of love and hope. Traditionally one of the sites in Prague where people will find the Bethlehem light is the Czech Radio building on Vinohradská street.
The new council at Prague’s City Hall has approved a number of personnel changes in the management of city-run institutions. The supervisory board of the Municipal House will see eight of its members, including its chairman, replaced. The councillors selected new members, who are set to begin on Wednesday. Two Prague district mayors and a deputy mayor, all Civic Democrats, as well as several others, were also dismissed from the supervisory board of city’s water management authority. The supervisory body of the Prague transit authority was changed out last week, resulting in the resignation of the company’s director. Coming weeks are also expected to see personal changes in the municipal waste management company.