Prague Easter markets » 12th March - 02nd April 2016
The Prague Easter markets display handcrafted goods, all manner of food and drink, and showcase the wonderful old customs of a traditional Czech Easter. So enjoy the bright colours of spring, browse the stalls and sample hearty local fare - Easter photos.
Prague Easter Markets 2016
The Prague Easter markets are open every day from 12th March to 02nd April 2016 at the Old Town Square
and Wenceslas Square
. Wooden huts display handicrafts such as crystal and glassware,
jewellery, metalware, candles, wooden toys, embroidered cloth, and beautifully dressed puppets and dolls.
The most common sight is brightly coloured, hand-painted Easter eggs, which Czech ladies dressed in traditional costume can personalise for you by painting on a name or a special message.
But the Easter markets are not just about shopping. Visitors can observe traditional foods
being made, and sample all manner of local produce.
Large hams are roasted on spits, there are terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages (klobása), and cakes and pastries prepared in front of you - try 'Trdelník', a hot sugar coated pastry.
To quench your thirst, there are the famous Czech beers - Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar - and a variety of warm drinks on offer. Outdoor
shopping is so much nicer with an ice-cold beer or a cup of hot mulled wine (svařené víno or svařák) in your hand!
A stage is erected amongst the markets at the Old Town Square, where school folk groups and dancers perform most days from mid-afternoon into early evening.
The Easter Markets for Children
As well as enjoying the bright colours and spring flowers that decorate the markets, children can visit a farmyard pen to feed and stroke sheep, goats and a donkey.
And on the Old Town Square stage, local children participate in Easter themed activities, making Easter chicks, painting eggs and flower pots, and cutting colourful ribbons.
How to make the most of the Easter Markets
Prague's city centre is 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 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 home - Prague hotels
Entertainment & Sightseeing
Aside from the markets, there is a range of entertainment and sightseeing on offer. In particular we would recommend buying a ticket for a classical concert. At this time of year there are some wonderful performances in the city's ancient churches and grand concert halls - Prague concerts
The opera and ballet season is also in full swing, with performances proving popular at the Prague opera houses - Prague opera and ballet
Sightseeing is of course a major reason to visit Prague. And the colours of spring bring the squares, gardens and historic buildings to life at this time of year. A sightseeing tour will help you discover the true beauty of the city - from walking tours to coach tours to river cruises, there is a fun way for everyone to explore Prague - Prague sightseeing
For an easy (and good value) way to arrange your Prague city break, we offer the Prague Package
For weather, currency exchange and practical 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
12 March-02 April:
Daily 10h-22h at
Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square.
25-28 March 2016.
|What's open over Easter weekend?|
The Easter markets are open every day, plus there is plenty of sightseeing and entertainment throughout.
Sights and attractions are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 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.
Shops are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some close or open limited hours on Easter Monday.