Preparing for Christmas in the Czech Republic and how to celebrate advent 2023
Waiting for Christmas in the Czech Republic – Advent
Christmas Advent in the Czech Republic always starts on Sunday 4 weeks before Christmas. On this day, the first of the four candles of the Christmas wreath is lit.
How advent customs appeared in the Czech Republic. The word advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means “arrival”.
The Advent holiday in the Czech Republic is a time of joyful expectation of the coming of the Savior, a time of reflection and mercy, as well as spiritual preparation for Christmas. For some, it will also be the time of the Christmas fast in the Czech Republic. Clean up the house, prepare treats, recharge with the spirit of the holiday, and most importantly – get a Christmas mood and surprises of the Advent calendar.
The origin of advent customs in the Czech Republic
Waiting for advent in the Czech Republic. Scattered information about Advent takes us to the middle of the 5th century. However, the Western church “legalized” Advent only in the 10th-11th centuries, depending on the locality. Pope Gregory the Great of the Roman Catholic Church (590 – 604) approved four Advent Sundays. The Frankish king Pippin III (Short) ordered to observe the provisions of the Pope throughout the empire. So the four-week advent spread throughout the Galician-French territory.
Every Sunday of Advent has its own name: the first is called iron (železná neděle), the second is bronze (bronzová neděle), the third is silver (stříbrná neděle), and the last is gold (zlatá neděle).
Advent holidays in the Czech Republic in 2023
Countdown to Christmas 2023
The first day of Advent in the Czech Republic. The Advent holiday in Prague and the Czech Republic will last 4 weeks until Christmas Eve. There is no fixed start date in the calendar. The main thing is that the fourth Sunday should be the last before Christmas (December 25). Christmas Advent in the Czech Republic in 2023 will begin on the first Sunday of December 3, and the last “golden Sunday” falls on December 24. From this day (December 3) the Countdown of Christmas 2023 in the Czech Republic begins in the Christian religion.
What do czechs do on advent? Although Advent is about Christmas, nevertheless, at this time Christians dedicate two comings of Jesus Christ. The first part of advent refers to the second coming. Biblical texts about the Last Judgment will be heard in churches as a reminder of human dignity. Parishioners will be called to take care of peace and the welfare of people.
Starting from the third Sunday, which is called “joyful Sunday”, all church services will already anticipate the first coming of the Savior. The duration of Advent in 2023 in the Czech Republic is from December 3 until Christmas Eve on December 24.
Traditional symbols of advent in the Czech Republic
Christmas wreath in the Czech Republic – Adventní věnec
How to celebrate advent in Prague. Since the 19th century, the Christmas wreath in the Czech Republic has firmly entered the tradition of Advent. It is made, as a rule, of a round shape, a symbol of the eternity of life in red and green colors. Adventní věnec is made of coniferous trees with cones, with toys, with ribbons, but necessarily with four candles. A Christmas wreath in the Czech Republic can be purchased in flower shops (they are beautiful there), in supermarkets or made by yourself.
2023 the beginning of Advent in the Czech Republic. One candle is gradually lit on the wreath every Sunday of Advent. Candles can have different colors, but according to the canon there should be three purple (blue) and one pink. But rarely anyone observes this rule.
What do advent candles symbolize in the Czech Republic?
Each candle symbolizes the week of Advent and they light one for each Sunday:
1st Advent candle. Iron Sunday. On the first Sunday of Advent, one candle is lit, which symbolizes the prophets and is a candle of hope and expectation.
2nd candle. Bronze Sunday. On the second Sunday of Advent, two candles are lit in Prague, the second one is the Bethlehem candle, which is a symbol of love.
3rd candle. Silver or joyful Sunday. The third Sunday is the time for the shepherds’ candle, symbolizing joy. This candle is usually pink. 3 candles are burning.
The 4th candle. Golden Sunday. On the last weekend of Advent, another fourth angelic candle is lit, which symbolizes peace and quiet. Burning Advent candles in the Czech Republic are replaced with new ones or do not allow candles to burn for a long time so that all four candles burn on the last Sunday.
Christmas wreaths in the Czech Republic come with five candles, where the fifth white candle symbolizes Jesus Christ. It is always placed in the middle and lit on Christmas after sunset.
How Prague residents celebrate advent. The second main attribute of Advent in the Czech Republic and Christmas will be a decorated Christmas tree or at least branches. It is popular to hang wreaths of fir branches on the front door.
Czech Advent Symbols. Along with a Christmas wreath with candles, which are lit every Sunday in December before Christmas, in the Czech Republic they usually burn special triangular incense — Františki — Frantíšky. This gives a special charm to the whole of December, and a certain anticipation of the holiday for the whole month ahead.
About two days before the lavish evening, women begin to bake delicious sweets — traditional Czech cookies for Christmas — delicate crescents (vanilkové rohlíčky), coconut cookies (kokosky) and marokanki (cookies made of dried fruits in chocolate), stars with chocolate (linecké pečivo), nuts with pudding and of course apple strudel.
Cookies for the advent holiday in the Czech Republic. This is the most cozy, delicious and family custom of Advent in the Czech Republic. Christmas cookies in the Czech Republic are of different types — vanilla and nut rohlichki (vanilkové a ořechové rohlíčky), coconut balls (kokosové cukroví), shortbread cookies with jam (linecké cukroví), patterned “bear paws” (medvědí tlapky), “wasp nests” (vosí hnízda) and fluffy cookies ” liar” (podvodnice).
Every family has its own recipes for Christmas cookies in Prague, they try to make them very small or decorate them with incredible patterns. Since the beginning of December, sets of Christmas cookies have appeared in supermarkets, but this is not what I was told. How to prepare for Christmas in the Czech Republic? As a tourist in the Czech Republic, you can buy Christmas gingerbread, but all Czechs bake them according to a recipe.
According to the tradition of the Czech Advent holiday, you need to bake 7 versions of cookies, but modern housewives do not stop at this figure, These mini-sweets are not just a Christmas treat in the Czech Republic, but a real national sport. Women compete to bake more cookie options for Advent in Prague. All December they cook sweets and freeze them to get them fresh for Christmas and show off to moms, sisters-in-law, sisters, girlfriends. As a Christmas treat in Prague, there can be a variety of cookies and cakes, but they must be miniature, for 1 bite.
The variety of cookies is very large. The classic is filled with jam with a hole inside. It tastes like such a soft wet shortbread, it is incredibly delicious. The following types are more difficult to prepare, often with buttercream and almonds. Cooking cookies and gingerbread is always a long but pleasant process. You can make any shapes – a bell, a star, a man, and then decorate together. Kids love to take part, it’s so cool to get together as a family and do something together. I love these cookies so much that I just can’t stop. Just for their sake, you can already wait for the holiday.
Treats for advent in the Czech Republic. Of course, now not all women do all the work from and to. In stores, they sell dough variants for different cookies and gingerbread – symbol of Christmas in the Czech Republic. Many confectioners collect orders in 2-3 months. It happens that they are ordered 5 kg of treats per customer. At the same time, 1 kilogram can cost 250 CZK.
Christmas bread in the Czech Republic – vánočka
Traditional Christmas symbols in the Czech Republic. Sweet Christmas bread in the Czech Republic (vánočka) should definitely be among the most important dishes of the festive dinner. Vánočka is a symbol of abundance in the house, happiness and health of the whole family.
Advent food in the Czech Republic. Back in December, buns made of pastry are sold everywhere in the Czech Republic. Once upon a time they were baked small, according to the number of family members. Coins were baked in some of them. It was believed that the one who gets a coin will not know the need next year. However, we have never tried them, so I don’t know if the belief works. Vánočka is, in fact, sweet braided bread in the Czech Republic from yeast dough. Most often it happens with raisins and almonds. Every housewife has her own recipe for baking such Christmas bread in Prague.
Czech mulled wine – Svařák / Svařené víno
Mulled wine in the Czech Republic in summer is not to buy, it is a drink of winter. Czech mulled wine appears on sale sometime in November and disappears by spring. If you are unlucky and the first one in Prague hot wine does not taste very good, then be sure to try to buy it elsewhere. Unfortunately, some sellers hack and sell just warmed cheap wine with added sugar and citric acid. Real mulled wine in Prague is fragrant and very tasty, it happens not only red, but also white, and also non-alcoholic, but rarely.
“Christmas Star” in the Czech Republic – Pointsettia “vánoční hvězda”
Flower “Christmas star” or poinsettia in a scientific way. Due to the fact that the bracts form the shape of a star and the flowering falls on Christmas, the plant is very popular and quickly sold out.
Christmas star in Prague. Also in the windows of houses you can notice a Christmas Star — a five-six-seven-end lamp in the form of a star, made of paper, cardboard, plastic, wood or metal. This is the symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, showing the magi the way to the cradle of the baby Jesus.
Photos of the advent holiday in Prague
Decorations for Advent in the Czech Republic. Fairs and trees are decorated with colored garlands, and in each house they are ready to boast of Czech delicacies, souvenirs and delicious mulled wine, punch or honey. It is in the atmosphere of a Czech holiday, at Christmas fairs, that it is so pleasant to buy gifts for your loved ones.
Christmas eve mass in the Czech Republic – Štědrý den and Mše
Traditional advent customs in the Czech Republic. On the evening of December 24, everyone goes to the church for Christmas Mass in the Czech Republic. Of course, you have already heard that the Czech Republic is the most atheistic country. This is true. But there are also Czech Advent traditions. And one of them is a festive service on Christmas Day in Prague.
Surprisingly, it is not customary for Czechs to discuss the topic of participation in festive divine services. One Czech told me that he once accidentally met a colleague in a church at a Christmas mass in the Czech Republic, and both were very surprised. They have known each other for many years, but they did not even imagine this about each other.
Czech Christmas masses are quite unusual. The pastor tells amazing inspiring stories, and in the Czech church there is an atmosphere of celebration and comfort, there is Bethlehem, where everyone throws coins for luck, in the center of the church there is a beautiful Christmas tree decorated with garlands and lights. At the end of the Messiah, everyone chants Czech Koleds together. Shops are conveniently located in Czech churches, but on holidays people usually do not fit and the crowd stands even at the entrance to the church.
Bethlehem Fire in the Czech Republic – Betlémské světlo
Czechoslovak advent holiday. The tradition of spreading the fire lit from an Unquenchable lamp in the grotto of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem was started in 1986 by the Austrian radio company ORF from the city of Linz, in order to support disabled children. Initially, the action was called “Light in Darkness”, and it acquired its current name, “Bethlehem Fire of Peace”, in 1989, when Austrian and a little later Czech scouts joined it.
Simultaneously with the flame, the idea of tranquility, friendship and peace spreads, and the fire itself is a symbol of selflessness and reciprocity.
Customs in Czechoslovakia at Christmas. In the Czech Republic, the Bethlehem Fire campaign has been held for more than 30 years. Of the original 7 trains last year, 62 trains carried Bethlehem Light in Prague to 765 stations. The tram makes stops throughout the day and at each stop the scouts distribute the fire to everyone within 15-25 minutes. Bethlehem fire in the Czech Republic is delivered in special lamps. Interestingly, the action does not end there. Czech Republic – what do they do on advent in Prague? Everyone can continue the distribution in the following days. Schools, churches and ordinary people participate in the event. It is enough to register on the promotion website, specify the place, date and time of distribution.
Traditional symbols of Advent in Prague. You can find out when and at what point in the country you can take the Bethlehem Fire in Prague on the Betlémské světlo website.
When does Advent begin?
Here is a list of future seasons of Advent, starting from the first Sunday of Advent:
The first Sunday of Advent 01 December, 2024
The first Sunday of Advent November 30, 2025
The first Sunday of Advent November 29, 2026
The Advent calendar brightens up the expectation of the holiday for children. Although more and more adults began to apply this tradition for themselves. We are all a little children, though bigger in size.