Christmas Tree Heads to Prague’s Old Town Square

This year’s Christmas tree for Prague’s Old Town Square is on its way. The 21-meter-tall spruce had been growing on private land in the village of Dolní Černá Studnice. 

Yet the tall Christmas tree which will dominate the square is already on its way to the capital and will be officially lit on November 27th.

This particular tree, says Petr Hozák of Taiko, comes from “a private garden,” and he noted that it has “wonderful branches.” It’ll definitely need them for all the decorations that’ll be hung on it.

You can also rest assured that, after its duty as the centerpiece of the Old Town holiday festivities, it will be properly recycled and re-used in some form.

Last year’s Christmas tree came from the village of Semily (Liberec Region) in the north of the Czech Republic.

The market organizing firm Taiko looks for trees that are in danger of being cut down in the near future. This way, the impact of cutting down the tree is minimal as it was already destined to come down.

In addition to the Old Town Square market, there are other markets (and smaller trees) at Wenceslas Square, Naměsti Míru, Kampa Island, and on the square in from to the St. George’s Basilica atop the hill by the Prague Castle.

 

Photo: Radek Petrášek, ČTK
Photo: Radek Petrášek, ČTK

 

History

The tradition of decorating Christmas trees is not very old in the Czech Republic. Legend has it that the first Christmas tree in Prague was erected for Christmas in 1812 at the Libeň Chateau by the director of the Estates Theatre J. K. Liebich for his guests.

Soon after, the Czech aristocracy and wealthy townspeople followed his lead and in 1840, the tradition of Christmas tree decorating was wide-spread. In the past, trees were decorated with sweets, various folk ornaments made from wood, gingerbread or dough, although nowadays they have mostly been replaced by blown glass and colorful tinsel.

However, traditional ornaments made from natural materials are slowly making their comeback including straw ornaments, apples, nuts and the orange fruit of the Chinese lantern plant.

Originally, the Christmas tree was hung tip-down, not standing upright. Nowadays, the trees are taken down on the Feast of the Three Kings or the following Sunday.

 

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