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Advent and Christmas

When winter comes, Český Krumlov shows a completely different face. A face filled with peace and poetry. The Advent season is a time of cheerful gatherings, starting with the lifting of the Christmas tree, carols, treats given to children on St. Nicholas' Eve and letters written by children to Baby Jesus. The festive time before Christmas culminates with a living Nativity scene that tells the biblical story through singing, dancing and plentiful music accompaniment. On Advent weekends visitors can enjoy the old Bohemian Christmas fair offering punch and traditional Christmas cookies, the delicious scent of which spreads throughout the town each day and evokes a festive feeling in everyone. Families with children can enjoy themselves on Christmas Eve at a gathering in the first castle courtyard and celebrate Christmaswith the Krumlov bears. Celebrations welcoming the New Year in Český Krumlov also offer one-of-a-kind magical and poetic moments.

History and Tradition

 

Advent a Vánoce - stromek

Advent

Advent used to be the expectation time prior to the arrival of our Saviour to this world. The word "Advent" comes from the Latin "adventus", meaning arrival. The advent time was actually a preparation time for Christmas holiday and since 11th century this time has been set to the last 4 weeks before the Christmas Eve. It was a time of fasting, a time of spiritual reflection rather than of excessive eating and drinking. All entertainment, dancing and singing were banned. Some folk ceremonies, more or less transgressing this ban, took place nevertheless during the Advent period. Moreover, the liturgical year started on the first Advent Sunday since the Christians based their year count from the birth of Christ. The dark purple colour was a characteristic fasting colour right until the third Advent Sunday, being thereafter replaced by pink, a colour signifying joy. Each of the four Advent Sundays had a folk nickname - iron, bronze, silver and golden. Advent as we know it commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve and lasts between 22 and 28 days, falling on any appropriate Sunday between 27 November and 3 December. Several significant Saints days are celebrated during the Advent period, such as St. Andrew, St. Barbara, St. Nicholas or St. Lucia.

Christmas

In the Christian tradition, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and belongs to the most significant Christian feasts. Christmas Eve is not yet part of Christian Christmas. This day marks an end to Advent and also to the fasting period. The Christmas Eve dinner is therefore festive, although made of fasting dishes. The ensuing Midnight Mass is in fact a relict of a night mass which originally preceded all important Christian feasts. The Christmas feast begins by the Day of Our Lord's Birth on the 25 December. St. Stephen's Day is celebrated on 26 December. The Epiphany (also known as the Three Kings) is celebrated on 6 January. On this day, so the tradition goes, the wise men of the East have come to pay their respects to the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem, bringing him gifts. Later, the wise men were turned by the lore into kings and their number was set to three.

Advent a Vánoce - Mikuláš

St. Nicholas

The Bishop Nicholas was born on 5 December around the year 250 A.D. in the town of Patara to a religious and wealthy Christian family. Upon his parents' death, he has distributed the majority of his wealth to the poor and needy. In order to escape displays of their gratitude, he escaped on a pilgrimage to Palestine. St. Nicholas is the patron Saint of sailors, fishermen, protector of ferrymen and especially of children.

New Year's Eve

The last day of December commemorates the Pope Silvestr I. This much-celebrated feast was originally not bound to any particular traditions. The New Year's Eve Night has gained importance during the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar became established in most Western Christian lands, placing the beginning of the new year on 1 January.

The programme traditionally includes:

Advent a Vánoce - poštovní úřad

Christmas market

Lighting the Christmas Tree

St. Nicola's day Presents distribution

Singing at the Christmas Tree

Baby Jesus Post

Live Christmas Crib

Advent a Vánoce - Betlém Bear Christmas

Arrival of the Three Kings and switching off the Christmas Tree

Concerts

 

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Tourist Information Centre Český Krumlov
náměstí Svornosti 2
381 01 Český Krumlov
Telephone: +420 380 704 622
e-mail: info@ckrumlov.cz