Why you shouldn't miss Easter in Prague

As Prague welcomes this year's spring, you will be amazed with the Easter celebrations just around the corner. During this time Prague is resplendent with colorful, dazzling Easter markets, as it draws draw closer and closer to the big day. Beneath the orange-tinged roofs, people busy themselves baking delicious goodies in the form of the symbolic Easter lamb. The tantalizing aroma signals that you have reached the right place for Easter merrymaking. Since Easter as we all know it all over the world is celebrated over a long weekend, Prague makes the perfect destination to experience all the traditions and much, much more in one city.

Velikonoce’, as the Czechs call it, translates as ‘Veliká ’– Great, ‘Noc’ – Night. This is definitely a festival you want to immerse yourself in, with its unique tradition that not only has a story to be told but a lot more than that. Easter is celebrated on a set of dates in the Czech Republic every year, though it will always be the first Sunday after the first spring moon - the cultural tradition has remained the same since pagan times. So here’s why you shouldn’t miss Easter in Prague. 

Whip whip whip away the willow stick – ‘pomlázka’ and ‘slivovice’! 

This is one unique fun-filled tradition, dating back to old Prague, where men either buy or make a whip from the willow tree, traditionally called a ‘pomlázka’, and are allowed, even compelled, to hit any woman they meet. However due to this year being a leap year, the game has been turned on its head and girls also get to beat boys. So boys, beware! You can buy the colorful willow stick at any Easter markets around the city and carry it along with you on the Easter Monday and spank away. In return you will be given some famous ‘slivovice’ - slivovitz, the plum brandy or decorative eggs as a spanking hamper - the meaning behind a spank is that the victim receives a blessing of good health and fertility for the rest of the year. But keep in mind, you have to wake up early on Monday in order to whip away. It's also a good idea to learn some Czech Easter carols from YouTube. 

Collect your Souvenir – ‘kraslice’ – Decorative Egg Shells. 

Easter eggs come in all shapes and sizes and can be found at all the Easter markets around the city and make the perfect souvenir to take back home with you. The word ‘kraslice’ comes from the Czech word ‘krasný’, meaning beautiful and elegant, as they are so exquisitely made. Also, if you have faith in your artistic skills, why not take part in egg decorating competitions, which are held all over the city. If you are lucky you will see a display of the winning eggs. Your friends will not be at all disappointed with a unique piece of exquisite art.  

Visit a vibrant Easter market in the heart of the city 

These decorative markets present a win-win for shoppers looking for beautiful handcrafted appurtenances. The markets are filled with vibrant colored stalls which not only offer handicrafts but also all kinds of food and drink. Keep your cameras charged to capture magical memories of drinking freshly brewed Czech beer and eating ‘rohlík and ‘klobása’ – Czech hotdogs. However, the best way to enjoy a beautiful Easter market is, undoubtedly, with warm mulled wine known as ‘svařák’, while you stroll through the market? 

Indulge in Czech Easter Cuisine 

When it comes to food, Czechs stick to what they know best – their traditions. Every day offers a different dish to sample. For example, on Ash Wednesday, they bake ‘trhanec’. On Green Thursday they have something, well, green. So, any vegetarians keep your eyes peeled for delicious veggie food! 

As for the day of fasting on Good Friday, Czechs usually keep things simple with fish soup and on White Saturday they bake ‘nádivka’ – Easter stuffing, and ‘mazanec’ – Passover cake. Easter Sunday presents a concoction of Easter pastries such as ‘buchty’, ‘jidáše’, and ‘pučálky’and not to forget, the famous lamb cake - it’s a lamb but not lamb. This curiosity is known as ‘beránek’ and is a type of cake. 

Finally, Easter Monday is filled with egg-based dishes as a sign of rebirth. So while you’re here, all these dishes and delicacies are a must try and can be found in any good, traditional ‘hospoda’. 

Attend an Easter Mass in the gothic Cathedral at Prague Castle. 

This gothic style cathedral, the spiritual symbol of Bohemia offers masses for those who are religious. However, just to visit this 14th century work of art on Easter Sunday is simply breathtaking. This impressive cathedral is home to the tomb of St. Wenceslas, and a crypt of the Czech kings and a chamber which holds the crown jewels. Definitely a must visit if you are in Prague. However, of course, masses are conducted in every church in Prague, for all four days of Easter. 

Not only can you experience all the above during Easter, but, what's more, Prague is home to amazing theatres and concerts which are held to mark the occasion. They offer such great entertainment that you will surely be spellbound. And since Prague offers so much more throughout the year than just Easter celebrations, there is always something to keep an eye out for in this magical city. As we are now entering springtime, you may be lucky enough to see the Prague gardens in bloom, along with the adjacent Petrin gardens. Though Czechs do not consider themselves particularly religious, they dive into all the Easter traditions – and you should, too! A bit of a healthy hitting, a lot of plum brandy, yummy food and a breathtaking city is just what the doctor ordered as spring rides into town – the perfect weekend getaway. 

Veselé Velikonoce – Happy Easter!

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