This past weekend, many people around the Czech Republic celebrated the feast of Saint Martin’s day. Some baked a goose and shared it with family, some waited to see if Saint Martin will really come on a white horse and others just enjoyed the copious amounts of young Saint Martin’s wine overflowing in wine shops and street fairs all over the country.
Prague will get a new Christmas market this year, with one set to be held on the square Malé náměstí, a short distance from the traditional market on Old Town Square. The mayor of Prague 1 said on Wednesday that the local council did not want to see Christmas celebrations concentrated on one site, adding that he favoured the sale of traditional Czech goods, such as a pastry known as “trdelník”. A pedestrian zone was created on Malé náměstí earlier this year.
A Catholic charity organization (ACHO) in Olomouc has invited Czechs to buy Christmas gifts for orphans in Ukraine. The charity has been involved in this project since 2008. It gets a list of children from several orphanages with details regarding their age, dress size and interests. People who want to give Christmas presents to a child who may never have received one in their lives, are requested to bring a Christmas package to the tune of 1,000 crowns to the charity organization by December 13th.
Some 400 members of the country’s Romany community on Saturday attended the a Romany pilgrimage at the Holly Hill near Olomouc in Moravia, one of Czech Catholics’ most scared sites. The event, held for the fourth time, included a procession to the top of the hill where a Romany priest served a mass in the Basilica of Virgin Mary, as well as performances by various folklore groups.
The 2012 international festival of artistic blacksmithing is taking place at Helfštýn Castle over the weekend. This year the event attracted over 400 blacksmiths from twenty countries including the US, Canada, Great Britain and Australia. The festival was established in 1982 and has gained considerable popularity over the years. It allows blacksmiths to present their craft to the public not just exhibiting pieces they are proud of but working on new ones in the castle courtyard to show off their skills to visitors. It has also become a popular meeting place for people in the blacksmiths trade. This year’s festival attracted close to 10,000 people.
Moravian folklore musician Jan Rokyta died on Sunday at the age of 74, the news agency ČTK reported. Jan Rokyta, a native of Jasenná near Vizovice, in the east of the country, founded the cimbalom band Technik in 1958. He collaborated with Czech Radio for several decades, and organized a number of festivals and folklore events. His band recorded more than 40 albums including Pěsničky, or Songs, sung by the writer and former dissident Ludvík Vaculík.
Hundreds of Catholics on Sunday poured into the Czech capital’s St. Vitus Cathedral, where Cardinal Dominik Duka was celebrating the country’s main Easter mass. The cardinal highlighted the important role Easter played in the Christian faith and blessed all attendees, as well as believers around the world. Some tourists had also come to attend the two-hour mass. Additional Easter masses were held in several other churches in Prague as well as across the country.
A record-sized egg sculpture composed of 45,000 individual eggs was created in Bludov, in the country’s Šumperk region near Olomouc, on Saturday. The huge egg object is over four meters tall and has a diameter of ten meters. It is composed of painted Easter eggs that have been tied together. People from across the country contributed to the record egg; some eggs were even sent in from abroad. This is the fourth such record from Bludov to make it into the Czech book of records.
Traffic police will be out in force for the long Easter weekend which traditionally increases road mortality figures. A police spokeswoman said several hundred officers would be put on duty along the country’s main roads and highways with the road safety-operation focusing primarily on drink-driving and speeding. Eighteen people died on Czech roads over the Easter weekend last year.
The Bavarian daily Süddeutsche Zeitung has warned German consumers of a possible egg shortage ahead of Easter due to Czech “egg tourism”. Many Czech consumers are travelling to Bavaria to purchase eggs, which have seen a sharp increase in prices in the Czech Republic. A number of German media have reported on the rise in demand for eggs in the country’s border regions. As a result, egg prices in Germany are growing. However, retailers do not expect an egg shortage in the weeks before Easter.In the Czech Republic as well as in other EU countries, the price of eggs has gone up due to a new EU directive on laying hen farms that went into effect this year.
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