Tag Archives: czech

Here’s One Unusual Easter tradition you might not expect!

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Easter is just around the corner and some households have already got their eggs in the fridge!

Many cultures all around the world celebrate Easter, but all add a unique flavor to them. Russians paint Faberge eggs and bake sweet Kulich bread, and the city of Krakow goes all out with a festive Easter market.

Easter is all about eggs and chocolate these days, but did you know that some cultures celebrate Easter with water?

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Yes! Water symbolizes the holy baptism and has been associated with the Easter holidays for centuries.

In Poland, Easter Monday a.k.a. Dyngus Day is the holy day when people attempt to drench each other in water. No method is exempt from this madness—hoses, buckets of water, and squirt guns are all employed. Traditionally, boys used to drench the girls, in a fun and odd flirtation ritual, but these days it tends to be all-egalitarian. The playful custom dates back to the Middle Ages, when Christianity came to Poland (966 c.e.) following the baptism of Prince Mieszko and by extension his whole nation.

This tradition is also found in eastern parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, usually in the form of an ice-cold bucket. The custom has modified slightly these days to an all-day water fight among families and neighbors.

In some houses in Lithuania, folks sprinkle all corners of the house or gardens with holy water on Easter Sunday.

Do you celebrate Easter? Where are the holidays taking you this Easter Sunday? Tell us in the comments!

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A Day in Prague

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WIT Global Correspondent Wailana zipped over to Prague for a weekend.

There are few cities as enchanting as storybook Prague, capital of Czech. This city has boomed in the past two decades in terms of tourists, which means there’s a lot to see and do and in even a month you won’t see it all!

But what if you just have barely a day to explore the “City of a Hundred Spires” ? Here is my quick guide for 24 Hours in Prague:

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Breakfast: Tricafe (Anenská 3). The old little cafe is tucked away on a quiet street in the heart of Old Town. It’s a cozy, sweetly decorated coffee shop just a few minutes’ walk from Charles Bridge. Grab a chocolate cheesecake and cafe latte for breakfast—because—why not. If you’re more a meat-and-eggs for breakfast kind of person, there are a lot of traditional Czech places nearby you can pop your head into.

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Morning: Wander Old Town (Stare Mesto). On the right bank of the Vitava river, the Old Town of Prague is where you’ll find souvenir shops galore, quirky design stores and Czech crystal. If you have time, pop into one of the interesting museums here—Torture Museum, Beer Museum, Jewish Museum… there’s even an Apple Museum on Husova street that houses a collection of computers and Apple products from 1976 to 2012. This is also where you’ll find the medieval astronomical clock, installed in 1410 and the oldest clock in operation in the world.

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Lunch: Cross the beautiful Charles Bridge over to Malá Strana, Prague’s “Little Side” of the River. On the bridge you’ll find many musicians (didgeridoo anyone?) and street vendors selling their wares. It’s mostly handcrafted jewelry, paintings and portraits, but look out for the guy selling framed antique clocks. Make your way south following the river to the Art & Food Had Restaurant (Plaská 617/4) for an exquisite lunch. The dishes are absolute gastronomic delights, from the devastatingly delicious octopus to the broiled beef cheeks.

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Afternoon: Go all out tourist in Malá Strana and climb up past shops of puppets and absinthe to the huge castle complex. It’s not in vain that Prague is famous for its architecture. Here is where you’ll find the gothic masterpiece of St. Vitus Cathedral, complete with gargoyles and soot-black exterior. Pay the extra koruna into the highest tower of the cathedral for an great perspective over the city.

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Evening: There are some great museums open up until 10pm in Prague—I dropped by one of the atmospheric, Prague Ghosts and Legends Museum (Mostecká 18). It was like walking through a haunted house, with dolls, life-size skeletons, and clusters of alchemical devices.

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After-Hours: There is no end of pubs in Prague, but if you want something really special, I recommend Hemingway Bar (Karoliny Světlé 279/26), a luxury cocktail bar themed after the author’s life. The cocktails here are like no other—original concoctions served in teapots, in jam jars, in The Hulk cups. And yes, they do serve traditional absinthe.



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Spring in the Czech Republic

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After a whirlwind of blizzards and cold fronts, it’s safe to say that Spring is finally here. (At least in the Northwest for now!) Are you so fortunate as to be heading to the Czech Republic this spring? Don’t miss the traditional celebrations of Easter in Prague and in the Czech countryside!

PRAGUE EASTER MARKETS

April 5th-27th, 2014: Come spend Easter in Prague! The Prague Easter Markets run daily from April 5th-27th, 2014 at the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, namesti Republiky and namesti Miru.

Visit over 100 stalls with a variety of handcrafted products, wooden toys, Czech crystal, embroidered cloth and beautifully dressed puppets. You will get a chance to buy hand-painted eggs, wooden toys, and Easter switches. Visitors can watch artisans at work and enjoy the festivities. You’ll be able to listen to live performances from singers and musicians, sample a variety of Czech seasonal Easter treats and watch dancers in traditional Czech folk costumes.
https://www.czechtourism.com/e/easter-prague/

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CZECH EASTER IN CASTLES, CHATEAUX AND OPEN-AIR MUSEUMS

April 19th-21st, 2014: Looking for a fairy-tale like Easter experience?

We invite you to visit Czech castles and chateaux, such as the Silesian Ostrava Chateau in Ostrava or Krivoklat Castle, which you can get to from Prague by a steam locomotive! You will have a chance to witness the Easter welcoming of spring at Berchtold Chateau or the Easter Fair at Dacice Chateau. Throughout the Czech region you will find Easter markets and craft fairs and people dressed in traditional Czech costumes. Indoor and open-air museums will introduce you to the folk traditions associated with Easter.

CZECH EASTERN TRADITIONS

In villages throughout the Czech Republic, visitors can experience traditional Czech Easter customs and festivities.

The unique symbols of Czech Easter are Kraslice–the hand-painted and decorated egg–and Pomlazka, which is a braided whip made from pussy willow twigs. To this day, boys walk from house to house visiting girls with their pomlazka decorated with vibrantly colored ribbons. As a Czech tradition, men playfully “spank” women on this holiday, an act that supposedly ensures fertility. Visitors young and old receive decorated kraslice eggs, small sweets or Easter gingerbread from the girls and tie a ribbon around the whips. As if the whipping is not enough, a popular custom is to throw girls in a bath of cold water, known as an “Easter dousing”. The whipping and dousing is performed to chase away bad spirits and illness.

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TRADITIONAL CZECH EASTER CUISINE

Food connoisseurs will enjoy the traditional Czech Easter fare as the religious holiday is also a celebration of Czech cuisine.

Most Czech people bake cakes in the shape of a lamb as a symbol of renewed life and the victory of life over death. It also symbolises Christ. Among the Czech traditional Easter fare also belongs special Easter stuffing, hot cross buns, Mazanec – Easter sweet bread and beautifully decorated Easter ginger bread.

(photos provided by and content adapted from the official website for Czech Tourism)

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