Visitors to the Czech Republic as well as locals should be warned that stores larger than 200 square metres will close at noon on December 24 and remain closed for two days after that. A new law which has come into effect aims to make the Christmas period less about commerce and more about the holiday spirit, allowing people to slow down and spend time with their families. The flip-side is that there has been a greater rush at large stores in the run-up. This week, there was no shortage of long lines at many major retailers.
Jakub Jan Ryba’s Czech Christmas Mass is undoubtedly one of the symbols of Czech Christmas, along with fried carp and Christmas cookies. Composed by a small-town teacher in 1796, the pastoral mass has become the most popular piece of Czech Christmas music ever written. At this time of the year it resounds in churches and concert halls across the country, but also beyond its borders. Recently, the Czech Christmas Mass premiered in Tokyo.
Prague zoo is offering the chance to see a golden pig on Christmas Eve without having to fast for the whole day. The zoo is preparing a series of Christmas period treats. On Christmas Eve children will be allowed into the zoo for just one crown. A special feeding and exercise session of sea lions is also scheduled. The golden pig as well as a polar bear should also be on show. Visitors are also being encouraged to bring in special treats for the animals for Christmas day. These could be dried or fresh fruit, nuts, or biscuits. The legend of the golden pig is party of Czech Christmas lore. It’s said that those who fast on Christmas Eve will see a golden pig. The tradition is said to date back to pre-Christian times. The zoo will be open but with more limited visiting hours over the whole Christmas period.
We've just arrived, with about 25 fellow passengers, by coach from Plzeň in the Czech Republic, and we are now in the tiny German village of Friedrichshäng. It lies just on the Czech border, deep in the Bavarian Forest – or Bayerischer Wald – with Český les forest on the Czech side. We’re going to an annual event organised by locals as well as the Centrum Bavaria Bohemia, which is based in a town called Schönsee just a couple of kilometres west of here. The transportation is provided by the Centre as part of its “Cesta za kulturou” programme, or
The US Embassy in Prague chose an original way of wishing Czechs Merry Christmas this year. It posted a video on its web page showing embassy employees singing one of the best loved Czech Christmas carols Půjdem spolu do Betléma –We will go to Bethlehem Together –in the original. The video starts with Cultural Attaché Erin Kotheimer and Ray Castillo, Counselor for Public Affairs breaking into song and other employees joining in as they walk around the US residence. At the end Ambassador Andrew Schapiro joins them to wish Czechs a Merry Christmas on behalf of all the staff.
It’s unlikely to be a white Christmas across most of the Czech Republic according to forecasters. They expect daytime temperatures to hover just above zero but freezing during the night. Temperatures are expected to get colder at the start of January which is expected to be the coldest period during the next four weeks according to the national weather centre. Many ski resorts currently complain they lack sufficient snow.
Czech fisheries are gearing up for the annual Christmas carp sales around the country, when sales of home-bred carp go through the roof due to the traditional Czech Christmas dinner of fried carp and potato salad. Although carp makes up for close to 90 percent of the fresh water fish bred in the Czech Republic many Czechs only ever eat it once a year- the rest is sold abroad.
Two percent of Czechs, mostly senior citizens, do not celebrate Christmas at all and three percent only from time to time, according to a survey carried out by GfK market research institute. Among the most common Christmas custom held by Czechs is visiting relatives, decorating the Christmas tree or singing Christmas carols. This year, some 31 percent of people plan to go to the Midnight Mass, the survey suggests. Some eight percent of people plan to spend more than 10,000 crowns on Christmas gifts this year.
Boy and Girl Scouts brought a modern-day symbol of Christmas to the Czech Republic on Saturday in keeping with a tradition begun in the 1980s in neighbouring Austria, the Czech News Agency reported. The program was inaugurated in Austria in 1986 as part of a charitable relief mission for handicapped children and people in need. The light was transported to Brno using several lanterns and will again be spread throughout the Czech Republic over the course of the Christmas holidays, organisers confirmed. Members of the public brought their own lanterns to Brno's train station in order to light them from the flame.
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