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All you need to know about Czech Culture
What are Czech people like?
Generally regarded as very straightforward, sarcastic and somewhat ironic people, Czechs are also very intimate with the people they know the best and tend to be very polite.
After spending some time around Czechs, you will see that they have a very cheerful attitude and are very helpful and cordial.
In terms of tourism, they are very used to it and the many tourists who visit their country and are known for their extreme hospitality and willingness to help out others.
Another thing you will notice about Czechs is that they are very keen on punctuality and organization, even when it comes to leisure activities and get-togethers. So in return for their hospitality and kindness, don’t make them wait! it’s considered impolite and inconsiderate, even more so than in other countries where tardiness can sometimes be simply considered being fashionably late.
Czech culture, rich history and excellent food
Although the Czech Republic is one of Europe’s most recently established states founded in 1993, the history of the land and its people is very extensive and stretches all the way back to the 6th century when the Slavs arrived.
Czech history and traditions
After the Slavs arrived and founded the first West Slavic State, known as Great Moravia, later came the Duchy of Bohemia and subsequently the Kingdom of Bohemia which lasted from the 9th century until the 16th century. Known as the Golden Age by most Czechs, this period saw a great influx of prosperity and formed the basis of the history of the region.
With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War, at the end of it in 1918, the new state of Czechoslovakia was created, establishing Prague as its capital.
In March 1939, Prague was invaded by the Nazi army that created a protectorate. At the end of World War II, the history of Czechoslovakia was resumed under a communist regime.
In 1968, an attempt to overcome communism began, according to the Czechs looking for a “Socialism with a human face” led by Dubček, known as the Prague Spring.
In 1989 in Prague, taking advantage of the Soviet crisis, a movement began that history has called the Velvet Revolution, which achieved independence from the USSR. It was November 17, which then became the national holiday of the Republic.
In 1993, after the division of Czechoslovakia into two states, Prague remained the capital of the Czech Republic.
Main Traditions and holidays
One of the main reasons the Czech Republic, Prague in particular, is so appealing to visitors is its variety of traditions and cultural richness. It’s hard -if not impossible- to visit the Czech Republic and not feel enamored by its charm, which largely stems from its longstanding history.
This extensive history has led to many traditions and festivities still very much celebrated and thriving today, as well as a rich cultural environment that tourists can enjoy and partake in. If you have the opportunity to celebrate any Czech tradition, you’ll also find that locals are happy to share their culture with you.
Here is our breakdown of some of the Czech Republic’s main traditions and holidays:
Christmas is celebrated with great fervor in the Czech Republic, being one of the most emotional holidays. Many of its cities decorate the streets with colored lights and their squares are prepared to host traditional markets where, in addition to being able to find beautiful Christmas decorations, you can enjoy the typical aromas and some of its most popular dishes along with the typical wine!
There’s plenty to say about how Czechs celebrate Christmas. So much so that Prague has become one of the most attractive European destinations during the winter months.
If you want to learn more about Christmas in Prague, don’t miss our recap of the 8 Best things to do in Prague in December.
Easter Celebrating the arrival of Spring
The celebration of Easter in the Czech Republic is closely related to the arrival of spring. The arrival of this holiday is known in the country as Velikonoce.
Easter eggs are one of the traditions that survive in the Czech Republic and symbolize the arrival of new life. This tradition is shared with many Slavic countries where eggs are decorated with beautiful colors, the most popular being red.
Witch Burning Festival
The Witch Burning Festival in the Czech Republic is one of the most traditional festivities celebrated on the night of April 30 to May 1. In medieval times, it was believed that witches roamed the mountains practicing black magic with the devil. The citizens, in order to get rid of the witches’ curses, used different amulets and lit big bonfires to burn the witches.
Over the years, the tradition continued, although with a more festive -and less somber- character.
Today, it is celebrated as a symbol of leaving the cold winter months behind, as Czechs happily say hello to the spring season. Thus, on the night of April 30, the Czechs go out to celebrate the Burning of the Witches by lighting bonfires in which they burn dolls made of rags and straw to represent the witches.
The traditional cuisine of the Czech Republic has many resemblances with the cuisine of southeastern Germany, as well as with Austrian cuisine. The cuisine of Bohemia (one of the two main regions of the Czech Republic) benefits from a microclimate that affects all the ingredients of Czech dishes. The natural culinary elements of this cuisine are fruits of the field, vegetables, forest fruits, mushrooms, fish and game meat. The cultivated fields leave a large number of delicious products that enrich the dishes and specialties of this country.
Main Czech dishes
The number of dishes found in Czech cuisine is so extensive, that it’s hard to pick only a few! However, we suggest you don’t miss out on any of the options below:
Knedlíky, are a kind of succulent flour “dumplings” that are a very typical pairing to Czech dishes, can be made from potato or even breadcrumbs. They are usually prepared in slices before being served on a plate.
The most popular dish, Vepřo knedlo zelo, (considered the national dish) is roast pork with pasta and is considered the most representative Czech dish.
Svíčková na smetaně is a kind of roast beef, usually larded, with a sauce made from carrots, parsley and cream, accompanied with the knedlíky. Often served with a spoonful of cream and cranberry sauce or cranberry compote and a few slices of lemon.
You won’t want tomiss out on trying Česnečka (garlic soup) either. Normally served with croutons, pieces of pork or sausage accompanied by an egg.
When it comes to beverages, let’s start by stating that the Czech Republic has the highest consumption of beer per capita on Earth. So as you can easily guess, Czechs are big fans of beer, particularly Pilsner, of national origin. All throughout the country, you can enjoy a vast offering of high-quality beer pubs with styles from all over the world!
Looking for great restaurants in Prague to try some Czech cuisine? Check out our top picks in our guide Where to eat – restaurants in Prague.
Czech is a West Slavic language spoken mainly in the Czech Republic, which is represented in writing using the Latin alphabet along with various diacritical marks. Czech may seem complex to those learning it as a foreign language; this complexity is mostly due to its morphology. Another peculiarity of this language is the apparent freedom in syntax; often, any organizational possibility of terms is grammatically acceptable. Russian is one of the Slavic languages that share these features. In turn, its similarity to Slovak makes it an intelligible language with Slovak.
The Czech koruna, also known as Czech Crown, along with the defunct Slovak koruna, all descend from the Czechoslovak koruna, which was the official currency of Czechoslovakia until its dissolution in 1993.
Check out our guide All you need to know about the currency in Prague to learn more about the Czech koruna, as well as some nice tips on where to find the best exchange rates in Prague.
Visiting the Czech capital, Prague
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and the dreamy region of Bohemia. The city, with more than one million inhabitants, is also known as the City of a Hundred Spires or the “Golden City”.
Visiting Prague is like stepping into a fantasy come to life. The streets seem created for the simple enjoyment of the senses and the stores are decorated with the greatest care imaginable. The marked medieval atmosphere that envelops the city is capable of taking visitors back in time and making it so they will never forget such a special place with such varied activities and places to visit.