'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Monday, November 30, 2009

Vesele Vánoce (Merry Christmas!) - Vánoce v Praze (Christmas in Prague!)

Hey all!

Just a quick note to give you a little taste of what the vibe is like here in Prague over the holidays with the introduction of the Vánoční trhy v Praze (Christmas Markets in Prague)! I wish everyone could experience this real life winter wonderland...the yummy smells of svarak (hot wine), cinnamon and sugar trdelnik (a pastry...and my fav czech treat - mmm!), klobasa (sausage - yum!), grog, medovina (warm honey liqour) and more.

As I was exploring the Christmas markets yesterday, what struck me as most intriguing is that even though a large percentage of Czechs profess atheism (upwards of 89%), as a people they very much embrace Christmas traditions...singing Christmas carols, decorating Old Town with a manger scene, etc.

On 5 December it will be Mikulas (St. Nicholas Day) in Prague. I'll be spending the weekend in Zurich and Laax, Switzerland boarding the glacier (yeah, that's right!! check it out!), so I'll miss out on the festivities, but it's been fun and slightly to see the little ones running around with devil horns. Why do they do this? Well, On this day you may meet in the streets of Prague face to face the St. Nicholas with the Devil and the Angel.

As soon as it gets dark out, St. Nicholas with his helpers walks in the streets of Prague handing out small presents to children. He is omniscient...he even knows whether this or that child was good during the past year! If the child has been good, he/she will receive a present (usually in the form of sweets).

If the child was behaving well, he or she will receive a present from him, usually some candies, nuts or fruits. However, if he or she was not behaving well all year, the Devil will put the child into his sack and take him or her to Hell! That is why all Czech children are unusually good on this day. Isn't this crazy?! Anyway, I find all of this very intriguing...and helps you to understand why my bro does what he does here (as a Christian missionary).
Old Town Square Christmas market by day

Old Town Square Christmas merket by night
Vesele Vánoce!

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