Twelve thousand people gathered on Saturday the 26th of November at the Old Town Square in Prague to watch the traditional lighting up of the Christmas tree. The tree was lit up at 5:30pm for the first time and then repeatedly every hour till 8:30. Christmas markets and entertainment for children accompanied this traditional event, which marks the beginning of Advent in the Czech Republic.
This market at the Old Town Square has a long tradition. It is the biggest in the Czech Republic, and thousands of locals or foreigners flock to savour the Christmassy spirit here every year. In the last two years, the official lighting of the tree was cancelled, and replaced with multiple lightings throughout Advent. It happened for safety reasons and because of the huge number of visitors, who came to the square. The lighting up will repeat four times a day from 5:30 till 8:30 p.m.
The first illumination lasted over three minutes, during which the tree performed a spectacular light dance to music from Gioacchino Rossini´s William Tell opera. People appreciated the performance with applause. A couple from the Netherlands remarked: “We have just arrived here ten minutes ago, this is the first thing we have seen in Prague. And the Christmas tree is also one of the reasons why we came here. We like it a lot.” Everyone can admire the tree till the 6th of January, when the market will officially end.
This year´s Christmas tree and Christmas market are very traditional. The tree is decorated with 4.5 km of lights, red bows, giant figures made of gingerbread and a golden comet on the top. The rest of the Old Town square is filled with small wooden market stalls. They offer mulled wine, mead, many sorts of food and traditional Czech-made products, such as candles, cosmetics and knitwear.
The 22-meter-tall spruce was donated to the city of Prague by the family of Mr. Frantisek Wolf. He was an owner of forests in Pecka, a village near Hradec Králové, and wished for his tree to stand in the Old Town Square and give joy to people.
Text vznikl v rámci předmětu Angličtina pro žurnalisty pod vedením Mgr. Aleny Proškové.