I’m here in the Vysočina region of the Czech Republic, in a small village in the midst of hills, fresh air and idyllic countryside. Next to me are a couple of young ladies who are preparing a Morana which is the god of winter. Basically what happens is that you make a figure out of some branches which are just being put together now, and that is going to be taken for a long walk and we’re going to find a river and set alight to it. Thus, symbolically saying goodbye and setting fire to winter.
Czechs may be one of the most secular nations in Europe, but when it comes to Christian holidays such as Easter or Christmas, they are very keen to observe traditions, even if they don’t know anything about their origin. The Easter holiday has always symbolized the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is a movable holiday, with Easter Sunday following the first full moon after the first day of spring. This year, Easter has fallen on March 23rd and 24th. But whether it comes a week earlier or a week later, the weather here in the Czech
The sun has just come out over Prague’s Old Town Square, and the Easter market is now looking a lot less sodden - and a lot more appealing - than it was five minutes ago. So, I’m going to take advantage of this little window of good weather to ask some of the people shopping at the Easter market about what they are buying, and some of the stall holders about the traditional crafts that they are selling.
Children in Northern Bohemia have set a new world record this Easter Sunday for painting the largest Easter egg ever. The egg was made out of papier mache and came in at over two meters in height. A representative of the Guinness book of records was on site at Červený Hrádek chateau to confirm that the egg painted by the castle’s younger visitors had made it into the Czech version of the book. It took a group of children the whole afternoon to paint the massive decorative egg.
Prague’s traditional Easter market on Old Town Square opened on Saturday, March 8th. Visitors will find stalls selling food and a wide variety of Easter goods including hand-painted eggs, wooden toys and intricate lace-work. An outdoor stage has been set up for the performances of choirs, folk music and dance ensembles from around the country. The market is open from 9am to 7 pm daily, and until 8pm on weekends.
All over the world couples are celebrating - and singletons are doing their best to ignore - the fact that February 14th is St. Valentine’s Day. The romantic festival has no real tradition in the Czech Republic, though in recent years, it has been becoming more and more popular. The Czech capital’s florists in particular have been enjoying a good day’s trade. Zuzana is an employee at one of Prague’s most up-market florists:
Carnivals are taking place across the Czech Republic this weekend, marking the beginning of Lent, the 40 day period of fasting that precedes Easter. Towns and villages, as well as individual Prague districts, organize carnival processions and parties out in the open with live bands and meat feasts. One of the biggest events has taken place at Prague’s Old Town Square.
The Czech Republic’s best known exports may be Skoda cars and beer, but you might be surprised to find out that Czech blown-glass Christmas decorations are also big business. And they may well even be stocked by a department store near you – they end up on the shelves of Macy’s in New York and Harrods in London, and even the White House is decked out in them come Christmas time.
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