As an American visiting Prague over Easter weekend a few years ago, one thing really surprised me… the Prague Easter Markets.
While there may not be many Americans who are as unaware of Easter in Prague as I was, I know I’m not the only one. My friend recently bought a blind booking via Air Berlin. When she found out her family was going to Prague for Easter, she took to Facebook. “I’m going to Prague Easter weekend, what’s there to do?” A few minutes later, “oh wow, Easter Markets!”
I love a good market
Since I lived in Germany for many years I’ve grown to love markets. There’s a specific atmosphere I prefer; one that I’ve found hard to replicate outside of Germany. While other places may try by having awesome food and drink stands combined with interesting crafts for sale in stalls, for me it’s a delicate balance. A nice variety of food, but not so much that you feel like you’re missing out. Obviously, a place to stand or sit to enjoy your meal. Quality crafts that are closer to hand-made than mass-produced. And an appreciation for the market itself – taking time to enjoy the surroundings, the smells of the sausages (because there’s always sausage), gathering with friends and family, and taking it slow. The market is, in my opinion, the destination.
So, how would Prague live up?Interested in the Prague Easter markets? Click here! #mkbkids Click To Tweet
The Prague Easter Markets
The two main market areas at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square offer over 150 stalls of dedicated to food and craft items.
They had the best features of the markets I’m used to in Germany. And some things that needed improvement.
My biggest complaint
I tried to write this post leaving my complaints out, but I couldn’t do it. While most of my experience at the markets were positive, there were two vendors that we dealt with that weren’t friendly.
One was our fault – we didn’t realize the meal we were paying for was priced by weight. When he more than loaded our plates up and charged us 6x more than what we were expecting, it was tough. Lesson learned. If a food item is not sold by the piece (like sausage), then double check what the price includes before ordering. Don’t be shy to say they’re giving you too much. Especially when they charge by the gram.
The other was an unfortunate incident that could have happened anywhere. Only, in my years of going to markets and buying things from many vendors, this is the only time I encountered this. The worker refused to give us our change. We stood and waited. He crossed his arms. He shaked his head. He ignored us. It was not friendly-banter. It was mildly aggressive. Eventually his coworkers told him that he needs to stop playing around and give us our money. It took him a while, but he did. We had exact change the rest of our trip.
Now to my favorite parts.
The best of the Prague Markets
Other than those two experiences, everything else was great. I almost want to say it was better than my favorite German Christmas markets. It was busy, but not overcrowded. The market offered a schedule of events, and a stage with live music throughout the day. My favorite part? The food!
The Prague Easter Market food
I immediately loved the variety of food available at the Easter markets. Different types of sausage, ham, and potato dishes. Even the vendor that gave us over 30 Euros of ham when we thought it was going to be around 5 Euros? Yep, that ham was delicious. (On a walking tour the day after our ham-incident, the tour guide told us that we should avoid the ham sold at a particular stand because it is the country’s most expensive. And it was the stand we went to!)
We discovered Trdelniks! On the way to Old Town Square, before we even knew about the Easter markets, we spotted this hole-in-the-wall place selling pastries. I’ll never pass up cooked-in-front-of-me doughy treat, so we bought one. I thought I found something truly unique and wanted to capture each moment of the experience with pictures. Because who knew when I’d see these again? Well, several stalls in each of the two markets sold them. You can see the stands prominently in my pictures in this post.
But, they’re still delicious.
This picture tells a little more of the story of Trdelnik:
Trdelnik owes its origin to Walachians who moved in 14th to17th century from Romania to the lands of the Crown of Bohemia, bringing with them an old time recipe for this traditional pastry. According to the original formula unleavened dough was rolled on a cylinder of beech or oak wood called “trdlo” (from which comes the trdelnik”) and baked over fire or charcoal until the sweet smell of trdelnik filled the whole room. To enhance its taste and flavour even more, the finished baked product was covered with nuts, plum jam or honey.
The Prague Easter Market Crafts: Kraslice
While there are several types of crafts available at the Prague Easter markets, I really loved the decorated eggs, Kraslice. The delicate features and designs are little pieces of art. They also have an important link to the traditions of the past.
I can’t do describing it more justice, so I’ll link to an awesome post about Kraslice. The Kraslice crafter details some of the history and tradition of the craft. This is one of my favorite passages.
Creating the kraslice is one of the few ancient still surviving art forms. The folk artists kept the secrets of kraslice alive by passing it only to the next family member. Unless your mother taught you, it was impossible to learn how to do it. And thus I learned.,, My grandma is long gone, but my mom and my sister still decorate kraslice in their homes in Southern Moravia, far away from California where I live now. But sitting at my workbench etching kraslice, I feel a strong tie with them and with the traditions of my people.
More information and a free download
This youtube video shows the decorating process:
More decorating ideas via this Kraslice pinterest board.
Kids will enjoy coloring in Kraslice-like eggs in this book I found on Amazon. Click here to see the coloring book based on Pysanky: Easter Eggs of Eastern Europe.
I created a printable of an egg with light graph lines on it. The lines help create symmetrical designs so you can practice mimicking some of the traditional designs, as well as create your own. You’ll also discover how difficult this is on paper – imagine what it is like on an egg?
My son created his own egg with the printable. Not really in the traditional design, but it is my favorite!My two favorite things at Prague Easter markets? The food and the Kraslice! #mkbkids Click To Tweet
You can create your own by clicking on the image below to access the download.
Let me know what you create with #ktbkraslice!
Explore the diverse traditions of Easter around the world with us, and don’t miss our series from last year and this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. You can also find these posts and more on our Easter Around the World Pinterest board:
Kids Travel Books
Kori at Home
Crafty Moms Share
Let the Journey Begin