Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kicking of the Christmas Season with the Advent Festival at Nelahozeves Castle

One of the main reasons that I blog about our life at post is to pay back for all of those great FS blogs out there that I have used for post research - during bidding, preparing for post or remembering all of the things to do while at post. One of those great blogs I have been using for reference is The Travelling Rubeshes, who recently left Prague. Thank you Rubeshes!

A recent exploration was to a nearby town for the first Advent weekend. In the Czech Republic, Advent is celebrated by lighting a candle on each Advent Sunday, typically in a wreath as depicted below. Although the Czechs are not religious (5th least religious in the world according to a Gallup poll) many Czechs follow this tradition because it is a popular tradition (according to my survey of at least two Czechs).

The first Advent also signals the opening of many of the region's Christmas markets. The one in Old Town is the most famous in the Czech Republic, but many smaller towns and neighborhoods have them as well. We headed out to Nelahozeves Castle, about 30 minutes drive north of Prague, for the Advent Festival.

There we found several stalls outside and inside the castle, with handmade crafts and food, including the popular grilled sausages, hot wine called svařák, and trdelnik - which my daughter fondly calls "turtleneck."

There were many stations set up throughout the festival for children to work on small crafts, and an impressive large nursery room for all things infant related. This allowed us to extend our visit longer than usual.

Picture above shows craft booth where they provided aprons and sleeve covers (blousy white things) for kids to paint. And below, Sicily's first encounter with the angel in the St. Mikulas trio. Even though she can not understand or speak Czech, the smile and candy are understood universally.

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