Celebrating Christmas in Prague

Married couples need to figure out how to combine holiday traditions. Growing up I always enjoyed opening gifts on Christmas Eve. The magic of the darkness with twinkling lights made for a special atmosphere. H was incredulous that I would even consider celebrating before Christmas morning.

In Prague, the main celebration IS Christmas Eve, and many things close down in the early afternoon. In order to feel the spirit of the holiday, we decided to go to mass at the Tyn Church in the Old Town Square. Armed with the knowledge that it started at 4:30, and that perhaps you might want to show up early, we discovered that early meant well before 4:15, since by then there was standing room only.


We joined many other people – locals and tourists – in the crowded church and listened to the choir and orchestra play a mass throughout the service (complete with incense) in Czech. I did recognize a few Latin phrases. The congregation sang one song at the end which I did not know, but after a verse or two I could hum along.


The city was somewhat quieter by the time we left, as the locals went home to their family celebrations. Traditional fare? Carp. Supposedly they sell the fish in the markets and people chose their meal from a barrel as it swims around. I looked in the two main squares for these barrels, but I did not see any. So you’ll have to look elsewhere on the internet for photos. Needless to say, we did not have a traditional Czech dinner.

Christmas markets abounded throughout the city, but the best one was in the Old Town Square.


This is early Christmas Eve morning before the markets were fully up and running.

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It was fitting to be in the city of Good King Wenceslas for this holiday. His grand statue stands at the foot of Wenceslas Square.

Wondering what we might do on Christmas Day, we needn’t have worried. About half of the restaurants were open, as were many of the museums.

We saw various creches around the city as well as other festive decorations.

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