Christmas markets going green

Prague’s two biggest markets will use biodegradable tableware

The Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square are going green this year, with food and beverages being sold with compostable and biodegradable cups, plates and cutlery.

That was one of several announcements made ahead of their opening on Dec. 1. The markets will run until Jan. 6. Stands for gifts will be open 10 am to 10 pm, while some refreshment stands will be open to midnight.

The decorated tree at Old Town Square will have thousands of lights and ornaments. There won’t be just one lighting on opening day, but two different ones, at 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm and these will alternate until 9:30 pm in an effort to keep crowds manageable.
The one at 4:30 pm has recorded music by Karel Svoboda from the 1973 Czech film version of Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku), with the participation of actor Pavel Trávníček, who played the prince. At 5:30 on the melody will be Somewhere in My Memory by John Williams.

The same music will also be heard at Wenceslas Square, which has its own tree, every hour from 5 pm to 9 pm.

An entertainment program on the main stage at Old Town Square will start at 12:20 and run until 8 pm.

A full program on the main stage will run every day, usually from 4 pm to 7 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to sometime in the evening on weekends, with an extended program for New Year’s Eve.

Visitors can see live performances of professional and amateur folklore ensembles from the Czech Republic and abroad, dance performances, choirs, popular music and programs for children and adults.

The two biggest markets in the city will find inspiration for their décor in fairy tales.
“The Fairytale Christmas and the associated new decorations will surely attract attention first. But I would like to highlight the biggest news this year, and this is 100 percent organic, compostable dishware, from which visitors to the market will enjoy refreshments this year. I am very pleased that we can be pioneers in this area and offer complete organic dishware and service materials — from cups to cutlery,” Libor Votruba, board chairman of Taiko, which organizes markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square said.

The compostable organic dishware includes all serving materials such as plates, cups, napkins and cutlery. The project also includes specially labeled BigBelly “smart” bins that greatly reduce waste and use natural intuitive sorting.

The Old Town Square market will use traditional colors of gold, red and white, accented by fairytale motifs, such as doves and princess outfits. The Christmas tree on the Old Town Square originates from the Liberec region. It is decorated with 4.5-kilometers of lights, plus colored ornaments in the shapes of balls, bells and nuts.

Visitors can get take selfies with a large Cinderella shoe. “Working on a shoe that everyone can put their feet into and take pictures was not easy. It's not made of polystyrene but is a pure carving. The golden shoe made of solid wood measures 60 centimeters and, by being made of wood, beautifully complements the atmosphere,” Jakub Olbert, director of SOS Decorations, said.

Under the Christmas tree, there will be a traditional wooden Nativity scene and a historic, 100-year-old sleigh to mark the end of the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia.

The Christmas markets at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square will have a new logo this year based on red and green colors with inspiration from traditional blown glass decorations and gingerbread. The graphic design was by Pavel Šťastný, whose work is associated with the Civic Forum (OF) at the time of the Velvet Revolution.

At Old Town Square visitors can go to 99 sales outlets, while at Wenceslas Square there are 29. Retailers will offer Christmas items and Czech handicraft products including Christmas decorations, candlesticks, candles, Advent wreaths and other Christmas-themed goods.

Traditional Christmas refreshments such as hot chestnuts, mulled wine, hot punch, gingerbread and Christmas candy can be bought. Food options include Czech sausages, grilled chicken and pork knees, chicken skewers and chopped grilled chicken in a bun.

For more information visit www.trhypraha.cz and www.facebook.com/praguemarkets

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