How to Celebrate Easter In Prague 2024

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How to Celebrate Easter In Prague 2024

With the arrival of spring comes the excitement of Easter in Prague.

The week leading up to Easter Sunday in Prague fills with lively markets with handmade crafts, beautifully painted eggs and other delights.

Both Good Friday and Easter Monday are official holidays in Prague; everything takes a break except for a few restaurants that stay open to feed the visitors.

Even though Easter is a bit modern now, Prague still loves its old traditions. Families come together for celebrations, sharing stories and enjoying good food. 

If you plan to spend Easter in Prague 2024, this article shares some of the best things to do, from visiting bustling markets to quiet church moments.

When is Easter in Prague in 2024

When is Easter in Prague in 2024
Image: Viator.com

These dates are an important part of Easter celebrations in Prague:

27 March 2024, Wednesday, Ugly (Spy) (Škaredá středa):
This day, named after Judas’ betrayal, involves children being let out of school to participate in Easter preparations.

28 March 2024 Thursday, Green (Maundy) (Zelený čtvrtek): This day honors the Last Supper and is traditionally a day of fasting.

In the modern Czech Republic, it also involves celebrating with green beer.

29 March 2024, Good Friday (Velký pátek): Commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Good Friday is now an official national holiday in the Czech Republic.

30 March 2024 White Saturday (Bílá sobota): It is known as the “Day of Light,” symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

It’s also the last day Czech boys go around shaking wooden rattles.

31 March 2024 Easter Sunday (Velikonoční neděle): A day for mass and continued preparations for Easter Monday.

1 April 2024 Easter Monday:  Boys and men visit houses and sprinkle water on women and girls.

They also carry a flexible rod made of wicker, decorated with ribbons, to whack them playfully.

Easter Traditions in Prague: How Is It Celebrated?

Many first-time visitors to the Czech Republic are very curious to know about the Easter traditions in Prague. 

Here are some of the most popular ones:

1. Pomlázky or Whipping Women and Girls

On Easter Monday, boys and men carry special whips made of willow twigs and colorful ribbons.

They playfully chase and gently whip girls and women, chanting rhymes.

A common rhyme requests colored eggs or, in their absence, at least a white one, promising a hen will lay another.

This tradition, called “pomlázky,” is believed to bring health and fertility to those whipped. It symbolizes renewal, spring, and the imparting of vitality.

In return for this, women give gifts such as colored eggs, sweets, or even a shot of Czech liquor to the men.

This tradition may seem odd, but it’s a fun and centuries-old custom in Czech!

2. Splash Each Other with Cold Water 

Splash Each Other with Cold Water 
Image: Theguardian.com

In this tradition, men and women playfully splash each other with cold water or spray them with inexpensive perfume.

It’s a fun and playful tradition that is believed to bring women added youthfulness.

It’s also common to splash water on farm animals as a custom believed to grant them increased strength.

3. Decorate the Home with Flowers and Paint Easter Eggs

During Easter in Prague, people decorate their homes with flowers, marking the start of spring during Holy Week.

Besides flowers, eggs are also painted and decorated, as they believe they symbolize fertility, new beginnings, and the idea of returning to life.

Women participate in this tradition by using different techniques to paint the eggs in various stunning colors.

Natural items like onion skins, beets, and spinach broth act as dyes to add color to the Easter eggs.

Once hollowed out, these eggs become charming decorations for home tables and doors.

4. Eating Lamb And Bunny Cakes

During Easter in the Czech Republic, people enjoy special baked treats like lamb-shaped cakes, representing God’s flock.

In the past, lamb was a ceremonial and costly food, so Czechs started baking lamb-shaped cakes instead, and this tradition continues to date.

Besides lambs, people also eat rabbit-shaped cakes and chocolates.

The bread of Judas, symbolizing the rope used in Judas’s hanging after betraying Christ, and Mazaneca, a sweet, round bun filled with almonds, raisins, or candied fruit, are also baked during Easter.

Families bake these cakes and breads and enjoy them together.

5. Enjoy Czech Food During The Holy Week of Easter

Czech Food
Image: Czechjournal.cz

People in the Czech Republic enjoy delicious and hearty meals throughout the holy week.

Ugly Wednesday brings potato pancakes, and Holy Thursday features legumes, lentils, and spring soups with mushrooms, peas, or fresh vegetables.

Some Czechs fast on Good Friday, opting for fish or potatoes.

On White Saturday, meat rolls with vegetables are served, and Easter Sunday is dedicated to meat, especially lamb and veal, along with sweet bread.

Finally, on Easter Monday, every Czech home has eggs prepared in various ways—spreads, salads, stuffed in sandwiches, or alongside pork or spinach.

Plates of sausages, cheese, vegetables, lamb-shaped cakes, and sweet Easter buns complement these meals.

If you are celebrating Easter in Prague, make sure to bring a hearty appetite to try these rich culinary dishes.

6. Family Picnics on Easter

Prague’s parks, such as Petrin Hill and Letna Park, have become popular spots for Easter picnics and gatherings.

Families and friends gather to celebrate the festival with food, games, and outdoor activities around nature.

Easter Markets in Prague 

During Easter, Prague hosts numerous Easter markets.

These markets offer traditional Czech handicrafts, including wooden toys, straw dolls, hand-painted ceramics, and embroidered textiles.

This year, Easter is at the end of March, and markets will commence on 16 March and will open till 7 April, including the Easter weekend in Prague.

Dates: 16. March 2024 to 7 April 2024

Timings: 10 am to 10 pm

Kindly note that most Easter markets in Prague follow the same dates and times.

Some of the popular Easter markets in Prague are:

1. Old Town Square Market

Old Town Square Market
Image: Wikimedia.org

Location: Old Town Square, Prague 1, nearest Tram Stop – Staromestska

The largest Easter market in Prague is situated at the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí), right in the city’s historic center.

With over 100 stalls, this market is known for its extensive variety of traditional Czech handicrafts, ornaments, souvenirs, and delectable food and drink options.

It also hosts live entertainment, including music, theater, and traditional dancing.

2. Wenceslas Square Easter Market

Location: Václavské nám, 110 00 Prague 1, Czechia; the nearest tram is Vaclavske Namesti
Two other large Easter markets are held near Wenceslas Square. One is located on the lower part of the square, similar to Old Town Square Market.

The second is on the top part, close to the square’s horse statue and the museum building.

You can find plenty more assortment of crafts, food, and gifts than at other markets and try the hot chocolate or hot pear drink while browsing through the stalls.

3. Market at St. George Basilica in Prague Castle

 Market at St. George Basilica
Image: Timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Location: Courtyard of St. George’s Basilica in the Prague Castle complex, Prague 1; the nearest underground stop is ‘Malostranska’ and ‘Prazsky Hrad by Tram 22 or 23

This Easter market is located behind the St. Vitus Cathedral in front of the St. George Basilica.

It is slightly smaller than the other markets, but its location inside the Prague Castle Complex makes it different.

You can find a great mix of food and traditional decoration stalls there.

Besides exploring the market, you can also visit the Prague Castle Complex, which includes the St. Vitus Cathedral and other historic buildings.

The place might be crowded during Easter, so make sure to book the Prague Castle tickets in advance to gain direct entry.

Besides these, there are a variety of other Christmas markets in Prague, like Peace Square, Tylovo náměstí, Republic Square, Havel’s Market and more.

Best Things to Do at Easter in Prague

 Easter Workshop
Image: Praguemorning.cz

With so many things to do and places to visit, you can have fun while spending Holy Week in the Czech capital.

Here is a curated list of some of the best things to do in Prague during the Easter holidays:

1. Enjoy a Day Trip to Prague Castle

Prague Castle is a castle complex in Prague that also serves as the official residence and workplace of the president of the Czech Republic.

It is the largest ancient castle in the world, hosting numerous buildings like the St. Vitus Cathedral, the St. George Basilica, the Old Royal Palace and more.

You can spend Easter Monday in Prague by enjoying a day trip to the castle.

Numerous day tours available online, including audio and live tour guides, will help you learn about the castle’s fascinating history while exploring it.

2. Visit Easter Market 

As mentioned earlier, Prague hosts numerous Easter markets throughout the city with handmade crafts, local delights, and cultural performances.

You can enjoy shopping at these markets scattered across iconic locations like Prague Castle, Old Town Square, Náměstí míru, Náměstí republiky, and the newly added Mariánské náměstí.

The market extends until 10 pm at night, and you can plan to visit them accordingly.

3. Attend Easter Mass in Prague

If you want to add a spiritual touch to your Easter celebrations in Prague, you can plan to attend an Easter Mass.

These masses are held in various churches throughout the city, including the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral, St. Nicholas Church and more.

You can pick anyone, pray there and listen to the musical notes afterwards.

4. Enjoy Easter Brunch

There is nothing better than enjoying the culinary delights of the Czech Republic.

If you celebrate Easter in Prague 2024, you can enjoy a delightful Easter brunch at various restaurants or homes in the city.

Most restaurants will be closed on Easter Sunday, but you can still find some open or plan to visit on Easter Monday in Prague.

You can try traditional dishes like lamb cakes, Easter bunnies, and more while enjoying the live music, creating a perfect family-friendly atmosphere.

Want to get the best taste?

Check out the list of the
best restaurants and cafes near the Prague Castle Complex in the city to enjoy brunch.

5. Join an Easter Workshop

If you love art and craft, you can let your creativity flow at Spektrum in Karlín.

The Vozovna Cultural Center in Prague organizes a neighborhood Easter game every year. It includes everything from painting eggs to trying out beading.

You can also participate in such activities to enjoy the Easter celebrations in Prague.

6.  Try a Green Beer on Thursday

While green beer is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day globally, the Czech Republic celebrates “Green Thursday,” the day before Good Friday.

This tradition extends throughout the Easter season, with local pubs offering this uniquely tinted green beer.

You can taste this special beer at various pubs and restaurants throughout the city.

Unique Facts about Easter in Prague

Here are some unique facts about Easter celebrations in Prague:

1. Easter and April Fool’s Day

Easter Monday in Prague coincides with April Fool’s Day in certain years, like 2024.

Such an occasion makes the atmosphere humorous, and locals may partake in lighthearted pranks.

2. Egg rolling competition

In addition to the traditional egg decorating, Prague Castle hosts an egg rolling competition.

Participants roll decorated eggs down the castle’s hill, and the egg that travels the farthest without breaking is declared the winner.

3. Easter Tree at Old Town Square:

Just like the Christmas tree, an Easter tree is decorated at the Old Town Square in the city with colorful ribbons, ornaments, and painted eggs.

Children also decorate trees in various other parts of the city to celebrate the joy of Easter.

4. Lamb or Bunny Cake

During Easter in Prague 2024, lamb and bunny cakes are quite popular and serve as a festive centerpiece. These cakes look like lamb and rabbit.

What is Orthodox Easter, and How is it Celebrated in the Czech Republic?

Orthodox Easter is a religious celebration observed by Orthodox Christians.

Unlike Western Christianity, the Orthodox Church calculates the date of Easter based on the Julian calendar.

It leads to a time disparity with the more widely celebrated Easter in the Catholic and Protestant traditions.

On Good Friday, Orthodox believers remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Special masses celebrate Orthodox Easter at different churches in the Czech Republic.

Some of these churches are the Church of St Cyril and Method in Resslova Street, the Church of St. Nicholas in Old Town Square, the church ‘Zesnutí přesvaté Bohorodice’ at Olšany Cemetery, and the church ‘Na Slupi.’

The main masses occur at midnight on Saturday, signifying the culmination of the Lent period.

Orthodox believers also adhere to strict dietary restrictions, abstaining from meat, milk, eggs, and cheese.

What is the difference between Easter and Orthodox Easter?

Calendar Basis: Orthodox Easter follows the Julian calendar, while Western Easter adheres to the Gregorian calendar.

Date Calculation: It aligns with Passover, resulting in varying dates for Catholic and Protestant Easterners based on the full moon.

Lent Observance: Orthodox believers observe a rigorous lent period and abstain from specific foods as part of their spiritual preparation for Pascha.

FAQs about Easter in Prague 

1. When is Easter in Czech Republic?

In 2024, Easter in the Czech Republic falls on March 31st, based on the Western Christian calendar.

2. Does Prague celebrate Easter?

Yes, Prague enthusiastically celebrates Easter with various traditions, markets, and events.

3. Are things closed in Prague on Easter?

While some businesses may close on Easter Sunday, essential services and selected restaurants often remain open.

Many places in Prague remain officially closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

4. What is the Easter tradition in Prague?

Czech Easter traditions include the playful custom of boys and men whipping girls with willow twigs on Easter Monday, symbolizing health and fertility.

Decorating homes with flowers and painted eggs, splashing water on each other, and enjoying special Easter foods are also common traditions.

5. What are the three days of Orthodox Easter?

The three important days of the Orthodox Easter are Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

6. What is the difference between Easter and Orthodox Easter?

Easter and Orthodox Easter both have the same purpose of celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection but differ in date calculation, calendars, and cultural influences.

Easter follows the Gregorian calendar, while Orthodox Easter adheres to the Julian calendar.

Orthodox Easter often falls later, and during Lent, adherents abstain from specific foods.

Culturally, Easter is widely celebrated in the West, while Orthodox Easter is primarily observed in Orthodox Christian communities.

7. What do Czech people do for Easter?

Czech people celebrate Easter by participating in various traditions, including whipping, splashing water, decorating homes, and enjoying special Easter foods with family and friends.

8. Is Good Friday a holiday in Czech?

Yes, Good Friday is a public holiday in the Czech Republic commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Many businesses and services may be closed on this day.

9. What to do in Prague on Easter Sunday?

On Easter Sunday in Prague, you can visit the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square markets with crafts, local delights, and cultural performances.

You can also indulge in traditional Czech dishes like lamb cakes and bunny-shaped treats at open restaurants or homes.

10. Are restaurants open in Prague on Easter?

Most restaurants in Prague are closed on Easter Sunday, but a few may remain open.

It’s advisable to check with specific establishments in advance if you plan to dine out on Easter.

11. Where are Easter church services in Prague held?

Easter church services in Prague are held in various churches across the city, including iconic ones like St. Vitus Cathedral and St. Nicholas Church.

You can check the specific service times and locations on the official websites of the individual churches.

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