In various forms, these time-honoured traditions are also well-known in Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Poland. And naturally, they are celebrated with delicious regional foods and artisanal crafts throughout Prague’s boisterous Christmas Markets. The two largest markets are held at the Old Town Square and the Wenceslas Square, centrally located in the heart of the city and only about a five minute walk from each other. Gifts of traditional Czech cookies, Christmas potpourri, honeyed gingerbread, braided pastries are all easy to find, along with wooden toys, crafts, clothing and candles depicting Prague folklore and holiday traditions. An animal stable and large Bethlehem nativity scene can also be enjoyed at the Old Town Square market.
And what would a Prague Christmas be without carp? Yes, the fish. While Americans enjoy dining on turkey, carp is central to a traditional Czech holiday dinner. Typically brought in live from street sellers in the days leading up to Christmas, the carp is then breaded and fried and served along with a smorgasbord of fish soup, potato salad and apple strudel. Look for some of these at the market.
Close to the markets, you might also be able to take in a classical concert at one of Prague’s ancient churches or music halls for a magical, authentic experience. Now that’s a gift Santa would be sure to appreciate!