Masopust comes early this year

The Czech version of Mardi Gras will have several chilly parades

Masopust falls Feb. 13 this year, but a lot of the local celebrations will be on Saturday, Feb. 10, as Tuesday is a work day for most people.

The Czech variation on the pre-Lent festival called Masopust roughly means “meat fast.” Due to the still wintry weather, it will never be as popular as New Orleans’ Mardi Gras or Rio’s Carnaval, but many towns and Prague districts still have some celebration.

Masopust — coming a day before the season of fasting that starts with Ash Wednesday — moves every year and comes relatively early this time. And its popularity is increasing, with more neighborhoods starting celebrations every year now.

The Czech version of the festival emphasizes pork, as historically people would shun meat for the coming 40 days. But in the mostly atheist Czech Republic, many people don’t bother with the fasting part but that doesn’t stop a good party.

The main celebration in Prague is in Prague 3–Žižkov, which will celebrate it for the 25th time. The neighborhood was the first to embrace the idea after the fall of communism. It had been frowned upon previously because of its religious roots.

There are events on Saturday and Sunday, plus a parade on Masopust itself that ends in fireworks.

On Saturday, Feb. 10, the fun starts at 2 pm at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad and runs there to 5 pm, with a market, food including lots of meat, theater, workshops and live music by Pískomil se vrací.

There are also events at Prague Central Camp at Nad Ohradou 17, starting at 2 pm with mask making, food and fun. From 5 pm to 8 pm there is carnival dancing.

The following day, Sunday, Feb. 11, there is a feast at U Vystřelenýho oka starting at noon. A not-seriously guided walk starts from the same place at 2 pm. There is a concert by Jitka Zelenková at Hotel Olšanka at 5 pm. Kino Aero has two films as well, including a screening of Barefoot (Po strništi bos) with English subtitles.

The big event though is the freewheeling parade on Tuesday, Feb. 13, starting at 5 pm at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad, which will make its way to the park in front of FK Viktoria Žižkov Stadium where it ends with fireworks at 6:30 pm.

The parade includes stilt walkers, masked performers, a few noisy vehicles and lots of random people joining in. All events including the films and concerts are free.

A newer entry in Prague is popular with tourists. Malostranské masopustní veselí 2018 starts Feb. 10 at 1 pm in front of Hostinec U Černého vola at Loretánské náměstí, near Prague Castle. The parade goes down Nerudova street and, after stopping at pubs along the way, eventually gets to Kampa around 3 or 4 pm. A celebration with pork, slivovice, mulled wine and more fun happens there.

For people more interested in meat than in a parade, there is Masopustní zabijačka na Náplavce, at 9 am to 2 pm on Feb 10 at Náplavka Rašínovo Nábřeží, where the farmers market usually takes place. There will be soup, sausages and burgers from pork, side dishes, microbrew beer, and entertainment from Circus Brothers.

Another big celebration takes place just outside of Prague in Roztoky. Festivities start at noon on Feb. 10 at the town’s historical chateau with jugglers and theater. It culminates here in the coronation of the queen of Masopust. At 2:30 there is a masked parade from the chateau with several stops for dancing and such before it ends at a circus tent on the other side of the town. There is an admission fee for more events including music and acrobatics in the tent.

Also just outside of Prague, there is a celebration at Únětický pivovar in Unetice, starting Feb. 10 at 2 pm and running to 11 pm.

Most of these events are publicized at kid-friendly, but copious amounts of alcohol are generally involved so it is good to keep an eye on the little ones.

For people who want to come in out of the cold, there is Luso-Afro-Brazilský Karneval at Feb 10 at 7:30 pm at Malostranska Beseda. The event is co-sponsored by the Portuguese Language Center in at

Prague. There will be various sort of Latin music including samba and marchinha, thematic cocktails, food, a mask contest and a raffle. This event has an admission fee.

For more information visit:
Žižkov Masopust
Malostranské masopustní veselí 2018
Masopustní zabijačka na Náplavce
Roztocký masopust 2018
Únětický masopust 2018
Luso-Afro-Brazilský Karneval

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