Christmas Eve » 24 December 2013:
Christmas Eve is the most festive day of Christmas in the Czech Republic. Czech people spend the day with their family, give presents, and enjoy their traditional Christmas meal on the night of the 24th. Merry Christmas to one and all - Veselé Vánoce!
|Christmas Eve in Prague|
Christmas Eve is the most festive day of Christmas in the Czech Republic, so with relatively few people around
this is a wonderfully peaceful day to explore Prague. And with the squares dusted with snow or a heavy frost, the city has an even greater 'olden day' charm.
For visitors, there is sightseeing and plenty of activities and entertainment to enjoy. But only a limited number of shops, bars and restaurants are open, and opening hours can be limited, so it does take a little planning.
|Planning for Christmas Eve |
The Christmas markets are open all day, from 10am to 10pm.
Sightseeing tours and walking tours run in the morning only - Sightseeing in Prague.
Restaurants have limited opening hours or close, so we strongly advise making a reservation (many will be fully booked nearer the date) - Christmas restaurants.
In the afternoon and early evening there are festive concerts to attend at churches and in historic buildings - classical concerts.
In the afternoon, some churches hold a Christmas Mass at 16:00 for children.
An afternoon mass is held at Tyn Church at the Old Town Square at 16:30. Entrance is free, just turn up. Arrive early.
An open-air Christmas Mass is held on the stage at the Old Town Square at 21:00. Entrance is free, just turn up.
A Midnight Mass is held at Strahov Monastery and at other churches around Prague. Entrance is free, just turn up.
For more information and to book restaurants, sightseeing and entertainment in Prague on Christmas Eve see our Prague Christmas Planner.
A traditional Czech family Christmas
To discover what a traditional Czech Christmas is all about, one has to naturally look at the family and at food.
Czech's spend the afternoon of the 24th December at home with their families, dressing the Christmas tree and preparing food for the evening celebrations.
Traditionally, on Christmas Eve Czechs are only allowed to eat sauerkraut soup during the day, in order to see the "golden piglet". This lasts until early evening, when Christmas dinner is served around 6pm.
Carp forms the central ingredient for a traditional Czech Christmas dinner. The fish is purchased live from sellers on the street, then cooked and served with potato salad.
Dinner can be a hectic affair, as parents devise ways to leave the table during the meal in order to place their children's presents under the newly dressed tree.
Children believe that presents are brought by Jezisek (little Jesus). As the family move to the Christmas tree after dinner, they are amazed to find Jezisek has visited, leaving presents without anyone noticing.
With a nicely dressed Christmas tree in the corner and the presents open, the evening is spent playing games, watching children's stories on TV and chatting.
For adults there is of course a good supply of home-made pastries and other snacks, along with Czech beer, wines and spirits!
Later on, some families attend midnight mass at their local church.
Old Town Square:
30th Nov-06th Jan:
30th Nov-12th Jan:
Lighting of the Christmas tree at Old Town Square.
05th Dec: from 16:00 at Old Town Square.
05th Dec-31st Jan:
Behind Estates Theatre, Old Town.
16:00 Christmas Mass for children at some churches
16:30 Christmas Mass at Tyn Church
21:00 Open-air Christmas Mass at Old Town Square
24:00 Midnight Mass at Strahov Monastery and other churches.
What's open and when over Christmas.
|New Year's Eve|
31st Dec: Celebrations & midnight fireworks.