Prague Easter markets » 05th-27th April 2014:
The Prague Easter markets display handcrafted goods, all manner of food and drink, and showcase the wonderful old customs of a traditional Czech Easter - Easter photos.
|Prague Easter Markets 2014|
The Prague Easter markets run daily from 05th-27th April 2014 at the Old Town Square
and Wenceslas Square
. Wooden huts display a variety of handcrafted products, such as crystal and glass-ware,
jewellery, metal-ware, candles, wooden toys, embroidered cloth, and beautifully dressed puppets and dolls.
But the most common sight is brightly coloured, hand-painted Easter eggs, which Czech ladies dressed in traditional costume can personalise for visitors, by painting on a name or a special message.
However, the Prague Easter markets are not just about shopping. You can also observe traditional foods
being made, and sample all manner of local food and drink.
Large hams are roasted on spits. Traditional Czech pastries are prepared in front of you, such as 'Trdelník' - a hot, sugar coated pastry. Plus there are terribly unhealthy, but wonderfully tasty, barbequed sausages.
To accompany the food, there are Czech beers like Pilsner Urquell and various warm drinks on offer. Outdoor
shopping is so much nicer with a cool beer or a cup of hot wine
(svařené víno or svařák) in your hand!
Meanwhile, on stages at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square school folk groups and dancers perform every day from mid-afternoon.
The Easter Markets for Children
As well as enjoying the bright colours and spring flowers that decorate the markets, children can visit a children's cabin ('Detska Staromestska Dilnicka' in Czech) at the Old Town Square. Inside, afternoon workshops are held where children can join in spring and Easter themed activities: making Easter chicks, painting eggs and flower pots, and cutting bright ribbons.
|There is also a farmyard pen next to the children's cabin with sheep, goats, rabbits and a donkey to stroke.|
How to make the most of the Easter Markets
Prague's city centre is highly compact, which is ideal for pedestrians. Book a hotel anywhere in Prague 1 (city centre) or Prague 2 (fringes of the city centre), and the Easter markets, and all the sights and attractions, will be within walking distance.
The Prague Easter Markets are free to enter. By staying in the city centre, whenever you fancy dropping in, you can leave your hotel and be in the midst of the markets in minutes. Grab a drink, soak up the atmosphere, and when you're ready to freshen up it's just a short walk back to your hotel - Prague hotels
For further entertainment, we recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert. At this time of year, there are some wonderful performances in the city's beautiful old churches and grand concert halls - Prague concerts
And sightseeing in Prague in spring is a joy. From walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there is a fun way for everyone to explore this beautiful city - Prague sightseeing
For the easiest way to book your Prague city break: Prague Package City Break
For weather, currency exchange and other information: Prague Tourist Information
Origins of the
Easter Markets in Prague
The Prague Easter markets originate from a time long before the communist era and were deeply tied to religious festivities. Under
communism though the markets suffered a demise, as the religious aspects of Easter were banned and celebrations were limited to welcoming in spring.
Since the fall of communism, the markets have enjoyed a renaissance. Czechs and tourists come together in their thousands today, to browse the colourful market stalls and soak up the atmosphere.
|To help visitors understand the
traditions on display at the markets in Prague, we offer an insight
into a traditional Czech Easter, as celebrated in the towns and villages across the country. Easter is an exciting
time of year, particularly for Czech children:|
Children finish school
on "Ugly Wednesday." The following day ("Green Thursday") boys equip themselves with wooden rattles, called "rehtacka". They then form a group and walk through their local village or town, shaking their rattles vigorously. This, as tradition dictates, scares off
The same walk is repeated on "Good Friday" and
then once more on "White Saturday". On Saturday, progress is slowed by the boys
stopping at every house and
shaking their rattles until they receive a present!
The greatest symbol
of Easter is the egg, with its connections of spring
and new life. On Easter Sunday, the girls and women of the village paint eggs ("kraslice"). This is a skilled affair with many variations on the decoration; usually a mixture of watercolours, picture stickers, bee's wax, straw and/or feathers.
For particularly well decorated eggs there is even an Easter egg contest held annually in Prague.
As girls paint their Easter eggs, the boys prepare their Easter whips ("pomlázka"), ready for Easter Monday. This is not the kind of whip used on horses, but is made from osier twigs, braided together. Once again, this takes some skill to make and the more twigs, the more difficult it is to braid a whip.
Visitors may see examples of these Easter whips in the Prague Markets, should they wish to participate!
On Easter Monday people get up early. The boys and men set off on a whipping trip through the village.
Boys stop at people’s homes and whip the legs of every girl and woman who live in the house.
Small boys are required to recite an Easter carol as they go about their whipping.
As if the whipping is not enough, a popular custom is also to grab the girl and throw her in a bath of cold water, known as an "Easter dousing". The whipping and dousing is performed to chase away illness and bad spirits. They may not appreciate it at the time, but it is actually good for the girl!
Once all the whipping and
dousing is over, the girl, strangely enough, rewards
the boy with one of her painted eggs. She then ties a ribbon around his whip and he moves on to the next house.
As the boys progress through the village, their
bags fill with eggs and the whips become more and more colourful, with many bright ribbons attached.
For older boys, gifts of eggs and ribbons
have latterly given way to offers of shots of alcohol.
By the time they arrive home, these young men can be
05-27 April 2014:
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square.
18-21 April 2014.
|What else is open over Easter?|
In addition to the Easter markets, there is sightseeing and entertainment to enjoy every day.
Most sights and attractions in Prague open every day, although some close or open limited hours on Easter Monday.
Opera houses, concert halls and theatres run daily performances.
Restaurants, bars, clubs and cafés are open every day.
Most shops in Prague open every day, although some close or open limited hours on Easter Monday.