Prague police have detained a 38-year-old man suspected of raping and
robbing a 56-year-tourist on Christmas Day.
The man had approached the woman in the Palmovka district early on December 25 with an offer to help her find the bus to her hotel. When crossing through a park, he forced her at knifepoint to perform oral sex.
Police had circulated a CCTV image of the suspect, who was apprehended in Prague 8 thanks to an anonymous caller. They say he has previously been convicted of a violent crime.
Thirty years ago this Christmas, Czechs were in an especially festive spirit – the entire Communist Party leadership had resigned a month before, and in a matter of days a majority democratic parliament would elect Václav Havel as president, bringing the Velvet Revolution to a glorious end. Ahead of the holiday, I spoke to Adéla and Petr Mucha – a historian and theologian, respectively, born into practicing Catholic families under Communism – about their experiences with the “Underground Church”, religious figures active in the dissident Charter 77
Czech Christmas wouldn’t be complete without traditional Christmas carols. To mark the occasion, we’ll be listening to an album entitled Christmas for Grown-Ups or Vánoce dospělých. The album was recorded by the Concept Art Orchestra, a leading Czech jazz band, and offers a slightly different take on the traditional seasonal repertoire.
Czech Christmas is unthinkable without a vast variety of cookies. Typically, Czech households start baking them at the beginning of the festive season so that they can stock up on them well ahead of the main holiday. Some of the cookies are for consumption, others are intended mainly as decorations for the Christmas tree. Vít Pohanka visited a Pardubice bakery to find out more about the latter:
Hundreds of people packed Prague’s main railway station on Monday for the
traditional performance of Jakub Jan Ryba’s Christmas Mass, the most
popular piece of Czech Christmas music ever written which resounds in
millions of households during the festive season.
The tradition, launched 19 years ago by conductor Lukáš Prchal, involves musicians and professional singers, but anyone who has a musical instrument or a passion for music can come and join in the performance or simply enjoy the music.
An unusual forest church for Christmas nativity gatherings has been created at the village of Neznašov in South Bohemia. It is the work of local sculptor Václav Fiala and makes reference to a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ organised by St. Francis of Assisi near Greccio in central Italy in 1223.
Christmas Eve is the most important festive day of the holiday according to Czech tradition. Although known as the “generous day” – Štědrý den – when it comes to food, one is meant to be quite modest. Few fast all day on December 24 but many do follow the Christian custom of eating meatless dishes for lunch that day, spruced up with a plaited Christmas sweetbread – vánočka.
December 24 is expected to be one of the warmest on record since monitoring
began, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute.
Afternoon temperatures are expected to reach eight degrees Celsius and more which would place it among the ten warmest days at this time of year since regular meteorological measurements commenced at Prague's Klementinum observatory in 1752.
The warmest December 24th ever recorded was in 2012 when temperatures in Prague reached 12.7 degrees Celsius.
Gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, Christmas carols and mulled wine; few people miss out on a visit to their local Christmas market during the holiday season and some even travel abroad to savour that special atmosphere in their favourite European city. Check-out the main Christmas market in Prague and those elsewhere in Europe where Radio Prague International has media partners.
Despite a growing economy and higher salaries, many Czechs are still taking loans to buy Christmas gifts for their nearest and dearest. According to a survey carried out by the Czech Banking Association, some seven percent of Czech consumers will borrow money to cover their seasonal expenses. What is more, around one-third of those are willing to take high-risk loans.