Local traditions and culture in Prague

  • Staromestske namesti
    Staromestske namesti
    by croisbeauty
  • Staromestske namesti
    Staromestske namesti
    by croisbeauty
  • Staromestske namesti
    Staromestske namesti
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Prague

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    UNIQUE NAMES IN PRAGUE!

    by balhannah Updated Aug 24, 2013

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    As I wandered around the old town square, I passed by many medevial building's with very unusual names.
    It turned out the house names were chosen by the owner to describe what type of business was being run by the house. This wasn't always the case though, as I found the "house of the three roses" is believed to be named such, as three girls lived there. What I thought was "funny" was the way they were named eg: At the Black Sun not just the Black Sun.

    There are heaps, all starting with "AT THE...........
    Blue Deer, Blue Pike, Blue Star ,Comb, French Crown, Goats, Golden Angel, Golden Elephant, Golden Hay, Black Serpent, (Huge) Whale, Leather Hill, Little Horse, Mirror, Prison of St. John Red Eagle, Red Lamb, Stone Mermaid, Three Angels ,Three Fiddles, Three Red Hearts, Three Red Lion Heads, White Angel, White Peacock and at the White Turnip to name a few! There are many, many more!

    I must admit, I find these names an interesting part of the house. Evidently, homes and businesses had these descriptive names as people in the Middle Ages largely couldn't read, so it was an effective way to share addresses. Quite a few have rod iron signs hanging above the door with icons depicting what they do, like a Whale for a Whaler, mug of Beer for an Inn and so on!

    Medieval building in Old Town Square
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    Czech Leon

    by kris-t Written Aug 18, 2013

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    Leon is the heraldry National symbol of the Czech Republic.

    The lion is the symbol of Bohemia and signifies power and sovereignty. Today the Czech lion by itself is also used as a symbol of the Czech Republic.

    You can see this one near the entrans to the Prague Castle.

    Prague Castle Czech Leon Czech Leon on top of the well
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    Getting Married in Prague

    by kris-t Updated Aug 16, 2013

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    If you are a non-EU citizen marrying a Czech national, an EU citizen marrying a Czech national or two non-Czech persons marrying one another, you will need the form “A Questionnaire for Entering into Marriage” (see the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic website), The Protocol on Contracting the Marriage form, to be filled in by the appropriate registrar together with you and your fiance or just one of you, as well as some more documents:

    - A birth certificate.
    - A passport.
    - A Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage certifying your capacity to marry and certifying that no legal impediment exists. Depending on your nationality you may be able to make a sworn statement at your country's embassy.
    - If the bride or the groom has been widowed, the death certificate of the deceased spouse, or a notarized copy of this certificate must be presented.
    - If the bride or the groom is divorced, the divorce certificate, or a notarized copy, must be presented.
    - Any necessary religious documents.
    - For non-EU citizens who plan to reside in the Czech Republic, a certificate issued, that you may legally stay in the Czech Republic.

    All documents must be legalized by an apostille.

    Keep in mind that you can not be married in a Catholic church if you are divorced.

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    Czech Holidays

    by kris-t Updated Aug 15, 2013

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    February 2: Hromnice
    Czech very own Groundhog Day, an important day for Czech weather-related folklore when people predict the length of winter and the year's crops.

    March 19: St. Joseph's Day
    Czech version of the Irish St. Patrick's Day.

    Easter
    Some tradition has changed but Easter remains one of the most joyful holidays on the Czech calendar.

    April 30: The Burning of the Witches
    If you made something that looked like a witch and burned it, you could finally get rid of the cold weather! A final farewell to winter can still be witnessed in many Czech villages.

    May 1: The Day of Love
    This day devoted to lovers and the Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha: "Late evening, on the first of May - The twilit May - the time of love".

    July 5: Day of Slavic Missionaries Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity to the Great Moravian Empire in the year 863.

    July 6: John Huss Commemoration - Anniversary of the execution of Jan Hus, a significant Czech religious reformer.

    November 2: All Souls' Day
    Czechs pay respects to their deceased loved ones.

    December 5: St. Nicholas Day,
    an exciting holiday for children, it is especially fun in Prague.

    December 24 - 26: Christmas
    Czech children believe that Christmas gifts are brought by Baby Jesus (Ježíšek) who comes into the room through the window...

    Bank holidays:
    There are 12 bank holidays in the Czech Republic. Except for Easter Monday, the dates of the holidays are fixed:
    1 January - New Year's Day
    1 April (2013) - Easter
    1 May - May Day
    8 May - Liberation from Fascism
    5 July - Cyril and Methodius
    6 July - Burning at Stake of Jan Hus
    28 September - Czech Statehood Day
    28 October - Establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic
    17 November - Freedom and Democracy Day
    24 December - Christmas Eve
    25 December - Christmas Day
    26 December - Christmas Day

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    Money

    by kris-t Updated Aug 4, 2013

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    The currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Koruna (CZK) or Czech Crown. The Crown is subdivided into 100 Haler, abbreviated as hal. Czech coinage consists of 1,2,5, 10, 20 and 50 Crown pieces. Banknotes: 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000.

    Many places in Prague will now accept Euros but exchange rate given is usually poor. Always try to pay in Czech crowns.
    Any how food, public transportation, beer and wine – are a bargain and very affordable.

    In our expiriens there is better exchange rate in Prague than in canadian exchange offices. It's still convinient to have enough Czech Crown fot taxi fron airport and the first day.

    Major credit cards are accepted in most locations.

    1000 Czk Banknote 1000 Czk Banknote
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    BIEDERMEIER ORNAMENTATION

    by balhannah Written Aug 4, 2013

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    It was in the Jewish district that I found this building in a style I hadn't seen before. The building from 1911, was built and painted in Biedermeier-style.
    Biedermeier is the era between 1815 and 1848 in Central Europe. It just doesn't refer to architecture, it also includes literature, music, visual arts and interior design during this time.
    Biedermeier architecture is renowned as having clean lines, minimal ornamentation, simplicity and elegance.
    You can see the house I saw at 21 Maiselova street had all of this!

    Biedermeier architecture Biedermeier  architecture
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    BUSKER'S!

    by balhannah Written Aug 1, 2013

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    In the Old Town Square was where I found some buskers. One I really liked, was a young woman making huge bubbles. The children loved her and the bubbles which were nearly big enough to put over a small child. Quite entertaining!
    Just before I left the square, a couple of men came into the square, one with a Cello and the other was a singer - I didn't stop to listen.
    Doesn't take long before a crowd starts to form!

    Busker at Old Town Square Busker at Old Town Square Busker at Old Town Square Busker at Old Town Square Busker at Old Town Square
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    WEDDINGS!

    by balhannah Written Aug 1, 2013

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    Don't be surprised if you see a Bride and Groom in Pragues Old Town Square! It is a very popular area.
    The Old Town Hall is where wedding ceremonies are held, then afterwards, photo's are taken in the square, often with the Horse and carriage.
    It certainly made for a nice Bridal photo's!

    Bride & Groom in Prague Bride & Groom in Prague Bride & Groom in Prague
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    OUTDOOR EATING & DRINKING

    by balhannah Written Jul 29, 2013

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    Prague, and it seemed to me every Restaurant or Café had an outdoor seating area divided into smoking and non-smoking.
    What I didn't expect to see, was every possible space taken up with either a food vendor or perhaps an outdoor coffee place with seating. It really amazed me, that between each of the outdoor pillars of the "church of Our Lady before Tyn", I found tables & chairs, and food being cooked! Each small area belonging to a different vendor. No view, just somewhere to sit outside and enjoy a cuppa or meal. It was amazing, and yes, they were doing business!

    Beside Tyn church
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    PUPPET'S

    by balhannah Written Jul 28, 2013

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    The Czech Republic and Puppet's go hand in hand! The puppet show has been one of the traditional forms of theatre in the Czech lands for many centuries.

    Puppets in the Czech Republic were around in the Middle Ages, when puppet shows were performed at fairs and markets. It was at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century that Czech puppet-making and puppetry developed. The Puppets were carved from wood and were given expressionless faces as it was the Puppeteer's job to give life and feeling into the puppet, by manipulating the puppet's movement and timing. Puppet shows were not only for children, but for adults too!
    As time went buy, Puppetry became a family tradition, and was handed down to each generation.
    For me, it was hard to imagine over 2000 Puppeteer's doing shows after World War 1.

    Even today, you can go to a Czech Puppet Theatre to see a show.

    I found plenty of shops to buy puppets from in Prague!

    Czech Puppet's Czech Puppet's Czech Puppet's Czech Puppet's Czech Puppet's
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    KLOBASKOVE-KRALOVSTVI

    by balhannah Written Jul 28, 2013

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    At the market in Republic Place, was another food stall. I believe this is the name of a company that sells all kinds of sausages to the public. They are known as "Sausage Kingdom" and go around to different markets.

    Try a sausage!
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    TRDELNIK

    by balhannah Written Jul 26, 2013

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    When I was at a market in Prague, I saw Trdelnik being cooked and sold. I had no idea what it was! It looked to be a sweet, which it actually is.

    The Trdelnik pastry is made by wrapping dough around a stick and cooking it over an open flame until it is golden brown and fully cooked. Then, it may have a dusting of cinnamon, sugar or nuts sprinkled over it. They are an inexpensive snack and quite popular. People were queuing to buy them, and I could watch them being cooked.

    The name "Trdelnik" comes from trdlo, the wooden stake the cake is wrapped around for cooking which gives it its traditional hollow shape.
    Trdelník is a traditional Hungarian cake and sweet pastry, originally coming from Székely Land, Transylvania. We found it available at markets in other countries too!

    Trdelnik being cooked Trdelnik being cooked
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    Atheism

    by GentleSpirit Written May 6, 2013

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    I found it interesting that the common assumption is that most Czechs are atheists. Though some would argue that living under communism was responsible for this, it probably goes far deeper than that. There is also the argument that the church didn't know how to respond to the increased expectations following the collapse of communism.

    The one study that is commonly referenced asked not if a person believes in God or not. Rather it asked if they adhered to a religion or church. Very different if you think about it. One interesting argument i read was that it may be a historically rooted resistance to organized ideology since that has always led to war through the Czech's history.

    It's hard to say, really. It is made even more puzzling by the large number of very beautiful churches you will see in Prague.

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    Folk dancing

    by solopes Updated Mar 5, 2013

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    If I had to choose the best in Czech Republic I would have no doubt - Folklore.

    Being in Prague I tried hard to find a live performance, and could only find it as a dinner animation in Holiday Inn.

    I had no doubt, and took all my team to that dinner. They went a little bit suspicious about the interest of that show, but soon were convinced. Great night.

    A serious request - Please, keep on dancing and playing that lovely music.

    Prague Prague
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    Hockey Fans

    by GentleSpirit Updated Feb 21, 2013

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    I boarded my train at Olomouc early on a Sunday morning, expecting that it would be a pretty quiet ride to Prague. If I was lucky I would even get a bit of shut eye after a night of partying in Olomouc.

    It turned out to be a pretty fun ride. The train car was mostly empty. As I was stowing my bags one of the guys a few rows up turns around and welcomes me to the train, offering some of the bottle of vodka he and his friends were drinking. Though it was only about 9 am, the bottle was already half empty.

    As it turns out there were about 15 of them, all supporters of a Czech hockey team (Vitkovice) and the almost 3 hour ride to Prague ended up being more like a combination of a party and pep rally. They were on their way to Prague to see their team play and they were fired up! When the conductor, a rather slight lady, would come in the car they would quiet down for a few minutes.

    After Olomouc they put on their jerseys and started singing and cheering, they basically didn't stop until we got to Prague. The leader of the group was making sure his charges were getting enough to drink and singing with feeling. They came to talk to me for a bit, halfway apologizing for being a bit rowdy (I hope you don't get a bad impression of us, he said to me) It was all good fun and got a chance to see real Czechs showing off what they are passionate about.

    We got spirit, yes we do! We got spirit,,,,how bout you!

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