9:18 am

Christmas Eve

December 24 is the first day of the three-day Christmas holiday, and the Czechs take this seriously as a holiday. There’s little, if any, last minute running around to buy Christmas presents or groceries, and any stores that are open at all close by early afternoon. The Christmas market at Náměstí Míru was virtually shut down before noon:

Some merchants weren’t even waiting ’til after Christmas to dismantle their booths:

Midday, there was a little more activity at the market near Václavské náměstí:

But by evening, after the 6:30 Mass at sv. Tomaš, even the big market at Staroměstské náměstí was pretty well shut down.

Staroměstské náměstí is the site, however, of the outdoor concert performance of Ryba’s Czech Christmas Mass (Rybova Mše Vánoční) at 9:15. Despite the (light) snow, it was well attended:

And, despite the weather, the singers were in excellent voice.

After the performance, the square emptied out pretty quickly:

Only a few of the booths selling food and drink remained open, though even they didn’t seem to be doing much business:

Coming home by way of Václavské náměstí, I took this picture of the market’s nativity scene:

It’s a little strange for an American brought up on arguments against public Nativity scenes as a violation of separation of Church and state to see so many nativity scenes as a matter of fact part of the decorations, especially in this largely atheistic country!

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