Easter 2023 in Prague
If you’re hopping over to Prague in April 2023, you’re in for an egg-citing treat – the city’s Easter celebration! While the progressive locals might not follow all the traditional customs, the festive spirit is still egg-ceptional.
Easter weekend falls on April 7-10, 2023, but you can still get into the swing of things at the traditional markets and their egg-stravagant displays for most of the month.
And if you’re around for the Easter weekend, don’t be a chicken and venture out of Prague to see some of the egg-cellent local habits and folk customs in the countryside.
It is a Christian holiday, right?
Easter in the Czech Republic is known as Velikonoce, or “great nights” in reference to the night when Jesus rose from the dead. But don’t worry, it’s not all serious business – the Czechs like to keep things light and fun! They usually do not take Easter as seriously as some other countries, partly because the communist regime suppressed the Christian aspect of the holiday.
But that’s okay because most of the local Easter traditions actually predate Christianity. So when you’re in Prague during Easter, expect to see some colourful eggs, traditional costumes, and even some dancing around maypoles. It’s all part of the celebration of spring, youth, and fertility! So grab an egg or two, put on your dancing shoes, and join in on the fun!
Hoppity hop, let’s talk about Easter symbols in Prague!
One egg-citing tradition you’ll spot all around the city are kraslice, or Easter eggs. Despite being laid-back about other customs, the Czechs are egg-static about their kraslice. These beautifully decorated eggs represent different regions of the country and are crafted using a range of materials, from food colouring to watercolours, onion peels, straw, or even beeswax. You’ll find them in abundance at the Easter markets.
For families with kids, egg painting is an egg-stra special part of Easter preparation. They’ll dye hard-boiled eggs to eat on Easter Monday and decorate empty eggshells with symbols and ornaments to become kraslice. It’s like a big art project where everyone gets to express their creativity and show off their skills. Think of it as an egg-cellent way to get your craft on!
Easter whip. Wait, whip?
Before you read further, please note that the author of this text is a Czech-born female who loves Easter with all its customs, no matter how strange they might seem to you. ☺
So here we go. One of the most important Easter objects is pomlázka, which is basically a bundle of willow twigs that boys use to symbolically spank girls. Yes, you read that right. But don’t worry, it’s not meant to be painful – it’s supposed to bring health and youth to the girls. It’s like a weird Czech version of a spa treatment. Boys will get those beautifully decorated eggs, some chocolate, or even money in return for their pomlázka spanking skills.
And if you’re not into getting spanked with willow twigs, you can always just decorate your house with them. Put a few in a vase with water and wait for them to bloom, and you’ll have some good luck and wealth coming your way. And of course, no Easter celebration would be complete without some traditional costumes and dancing around a maypole. It’s like a big party to welcome spring, youth, and fertility. So, grab your kraslice, your pomlázka, and your dancing shoes, and let’s get this egg-stravaganza started!
What to eat at Easter in Prague?
Ah, food – the most important part of any celebration! First up, we have beránek – a baked lamb. No, no, don’t worry, it’s not actual lamb meat. It’s made of gingerbread or curd dough mixed with raisins. It’s meant to symbolize Jesus Christ as a scapegoat for the sins of others, but let’s be real, you’ll probably just be thinking about how tasty it is.
If you’re not feeling the beránek, then most Czech families make mazanec. It’s a sweet bread with dried fruit inside and topped with almonds. Trust me, there’s nothing better than a hot mazanec fresh out of the oven. And if there’s any leftover dough, we braid it into little pieces of rope and bake them too. We call them jidášky, which supposedly symbolize the rope that Judas used to hang himself on. If that doesn’t keep Judas away from your house, I don’t know what will!
The Easter Weekend Schedule
It all starts 40 days before Easter on Ash Wednesday when you’re supposed to fast and focus on your faith. But let’s be real, there are very few Czechs who have that kind of self-control.
For most people, the real fun begins on Great Friday which kicks off an extra-long weekend (both Friday and Monday are national holidays here). Boys used to go around with wooden rattles called řehtačky to ward off bad spirits, but nowadays you’re more likely to see them on their phones.
White Saturday is all about spring cleaning and getting ready. That means painting Easter eggs, decorating the house, and baking delicious treats like mazanec and beránek. And if you’re wondering about the boys and their pomlázka, well, let’s just say most have upgraded from DIY to supermarket-bought.
Ah, Easter Sunday! That’s the day when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ… or stuff ourselves with meat and beer, depending on our priorities. If you’ve read this far, you’ll know which one is more popular in this country.
The real fun starts on Easter Monday. That’s when groups of boys armed with pomlázka, that whip made of willow branches, go around singing Easter carols and spanking girls. Talk about an interesting way to celebrate springtime fertility!
Of course, we’ve mentioned the girls aren’t just getting spanked for nothing. They’re supposed to reward the boys with treats and eggs. But after a certain age, those eggs just don’t seem as appealing. That’s when the boys, or rather men now, start getting shots of alcohol instead. Mostly it will be slivovice – a strong Czech plum brandy that’ll put hairs on your chest faster than you can say “Velikonoce”!
It’s like a little game of give-and-take: women get symbolically spanked, and men get not-so-symbolically tipsy after several rounds of slivovice. It’s all in good fun, of course, and nobody takes it too seriously – except maybe the slivovice, that is.
Easter Markets in Prague, 2023 edition
So how can you, as a traveller to Prague, participate? Mostly by visiting our lovely Easter Markets and or by befriending a Czech local and going to their home to celebrate with them.
1. Old Town Square Easter Market
25 March – 16 April 2023, 10 am – 8 pm
This market is the most famous and popular Easter market in Prague. It is located in the heart of the Old Town and offers everything from traditional Czech crafts to delicious food and drink. You can even try your hand at painting Easter eggs with local artists but don’t be surprised if your egg looks more like a Picasso than a traditional Czech design.
2. Easter Market at Anděl
19 March – 9 April 2023, 10 am – 8 pm
This market is located in the trendy Anděl neighbourhood and is perfect for those looking for a more modern twist on Easter traditions. You can find unique handmade gifts, street food, and even live music. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the Easter version of the popular Czech drink Becherovka – it’s a spicy surprise!
3. Easter Market at Prague Castle
20 March – 16 April 2023, 10 am – 6 pm (Fri-Sun 7 pm)
This market offers a stunning view of the city and a unique selection of Easter crafts and food. You can even take a guided tour of the castle and learn about its history while enjoying the festivities. But watch out for the guards at the gate – they are not known for their sense of humour.
4. Easter Market at Náměstí Míru
25 March – 10 April 2023, 10am – 7pm
You will find all the usual Easter goodies like painted eggs, handmade crafts, and delicious treats, but you’ll also get to enjoy the picturesque square with its stunning St. Ludmila church. Grab a hot drink or a cold beer, soak up the festive atmosphere, and don’t forget to snap some selfies with the giant Easter egg decorations. The Náměstí Míru Easter market is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the joy and traditions of Easter in Prague.
March 25, 2023