Christmas Eve is the most important festive day of the holiday according to Czech tradition. Although known as the “generous day” – Štědrý den – when it comes to food, one is meant to be quite modest. Few fast all day on December 24 but many do follow the Christian custom of eating meatless dishes for lunch that day, spruced up with a plaited Christmas sweetbread – vánočka.
December 24 is expected to be one of the warmest on record since monitoring
began, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute.
Afternoon temperatures are expected to reach eight degrees Celsius and more which would place it among the ten warmest days at this time of year since regular meteorological measurements commenced at Prague's Klementinum observatory in 1752.
The warmest December 24th ever recorded was in 2012 when temperatures in Prague reached 12.7 degrees Celsius.
Gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, Christmas carols and mulled wine; few people miss out on a visit to their local Christmas market during the holiday season and some even travel abroad to savour that special atmosphere in their favourite European city. Check-out the main Christmas market in Prague and those elsewhere in Europe where Radio Prague International has media partners.
Despite a growing economy and higher salaries, many Czechs are still taking loans to buy Christmas gifts for their nearest and dearest. According to a survey carried out by the Czech Banking Association, some seven percent of Czech consumers will borrow money to cover their seasonal expenses. What is more, around one-third of those are willing to take high-risk loans.
The traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremonies marking the start of
Advent are taking place on town squares around the country this weekend.
The event is now frequently accompanied by video-mapping and live music.
Prague’s largest Christmas market opened on Old Town Square on Saturday and will be accompanied by daily cultural events and concerts up until January 6th.
The tree-lighting ceremony on Old Town Square first took place at 4.30 pm and will be repeated at every next hour up until 9.30 pm in order to accommodate visitors.
The tiny post office in the West Bohemian mountain town of Boží Dar –
meaning God’s gift –has started processing huge amounts of Christmas
mail from around the country and abroad.
The post office annually stamps hundreds of thousands of Christmas greetings with a special Christmas stamp, making these letters a popular collector’s item for the sender and recipient.
It is also the post office to which Czech children send letters to Baby Jesus or Ježísek telling him what they’d most like to get for Christmas. In the course of December the post with its four employees gets on average 15 kilograms of mail a day.
This year’s stamp, designed by Pavel Sivko, is a Christmas motif of floating candles in nutshells.
A Norway spruce destined for the Christmas market in Prague’s Old Town
was felled on Sunday and is slowing making its way by special transport
from the Liberec region to the Czech capital.
The 55-year-old tree was chosen from dozens of contenders to be the centrepiece of the traditional yuletide market. When felled, the spruce stood 29 metres high and 5.5 metres wide, and weighed nearly nine tons.
People can follow the tree’s journey on the website sledujstromek.cz. The lighting ceremony takes place on Saturday, November 30, at 16:30.
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