The traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremonies marking the start of
Advent are taking place on town squares around the country this weekend.
The event is now frequently accompanied by video-mapping and live music.
Prague’s largest Christmas market opened on Old Town Square on Saturday and will be accompanied by daily cultural events and concerts up until January 6th.
The tree-lighting ceremony on Old Town Square first took place at 4.30 pm and will be repeated at every next hour up until 9.30 pm in order to accommodate visitors.
The tiny post office in the West Bohemian mountain town of Boží Dar –
meaning God’s gift –has started processing huge amounts of Christmas
mail from around the country and abroad.
The post office annually stamps hundreds of thousands of Christmas greetings with a special Christmas stamp, making these letters a popular collector’s item for the sender and recipient.
It is also the post office to which Czech children send letters to Baby Jesus or Ježísek telling him what they’d most like to get for Christmas. In the course of December the post with its four employees gets on average 15 kilograms of mail a day.
This year’s stamp, designed by Pavel Sivko, is a Christmas motif of floating candles in nutshells.
On Friday people all around the Czech Republic began celebrating Saint Martin’s Day, which falls on November 11. According to a Czech proverb, it is the day which brings the first snow to the country. In recent years, however, the day has mostly been associated with the arrival of the season’s first wine and with the traditional feast of roast goose.
Jan Špidlen is the fourth generation of his family to work as a master violin maker. What are some of the secrets to crafting top class violins? And how has the industry changed in the last few decades? I discussed those questions with Špidlen surrounded by an array of traditional tools at his Prague centre workshop. But I began by asking him about the first violin he ever produced?
The Czech Republic is facing a chronic lack of skilled craftsmen, according
to the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, which notes a steady
drop of trainees in a number of fields in recent years.
The association said the biggest drop has been recorded in the masonry and painting. While in 2005 more than 700 masons were being trained in the Czech Republic, last year there were only 250. The corresponding number of carpenters is similar.
Schools are looking to attract more young people to such professions by introduction of a new school subject, called technical practice. Dozens of elementary schools plan to add it to their curriculum as of September.
Prague is hosting a major traditional culture fest this week - the Prague Folklore Days. Around 50 amateur folklore ensembles from Europe, Asia and Africa have gathered in the Czech capital to show off their musical and dancing skills to the public in various parts of the city. The event launched on Thursday and will continue until Saturday evening.
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