Masopust offers several parades

Žižkov will have the largest but not the only celebration of Czech Mardi Gras

Masopust this year falls on March 5, with many of the celebrations taking place on the weekend of March 2 and 3. The highlight will be the annual parade at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad.

Masopust is the Czech equivalent of Carneval or Mardi Gras, and falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, the season of repentance before the Christian holiday of Easter. Since the date of Easter changes very year, so does Masopust.

Traditionally, it is the last chance to party before 40 days of austerity.

Czechs are among the least religious people in the world, so the religious aspect of Masopust is rather small. But almost everyone loves a parade and an excuse to eat and drink.

Celebrations of Masopust have a long folk tradition, but were discouraged under communism. Slowly, interest has been rebuilding.

Prague 3 hosts the largest and by now longest-running modern celebration. Žižkovský masopust 2019 will be in its 26th year. There are also some smaller events across the city, and for people who want to take a day trip there are celebrations in many towns.

Žižkovský masopust has events Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, in addition to the March 5 parade. Saturday starts with the farmers market at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad from 8 am to 2 pm, with music starting at 1 pm. There are events for children at Hotel Olšanka and Divadlo v pytli starting at 2 pm. Hotel Olšanka has limited space and free tickets are available at the Prague 3 information center and Prague 3 Town Hall and some other locations.

Sunday has a feast from 11 am to 5 pm at the pub U Vystřelenýho oka and a guided tour of Žižkov in Czech at 2 pm.

Tuesday has a feast at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad from 11 am to 8 pm. The parade this year goes in a loop, starting at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad at 5 pm, going to the Prague 3 Town Hall for a ceremony and then back to náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad for prizes and a fire show.

Malostranské masopustní veselí 2019 offers another chance to have a parade. This one is Saturday, starting at U Černého vola pub in Hradčanská and making its way down Nerudova Street, with stops at pubs along the way, to Malostranské náměstí and then Mostecká Street ending in Kampa, where it arrives between 3 and 4 pm. At Kampa, there will be music and carnival fun.

Letenský masopust is a one-day children-oriented affair on Saturday, that starts at Strossmayerovo náměstí 10 am and moves to the National Technical Museum and National Agricultural Museum before going on to the Letná Water Tower and ending up at Galerie Scarabeus and the Coffee Museum.

Břevnovský masopust 2019 has a parade on March 5 at 4 pm starting at the crossroads of Bělohorská and Pod Královkou, going down Bělohorská to Břevnov Monastery where there will be food, music and dancing. Prizes will be given for the best children’s costumes. There is also a masked ball on March 9 at Hotel Pyramida, which requires tickets for entry.

Žižkovský masopust: www.facebook.com/events
Malostranské masopustní veselí 2019: www.facebook.com/events
Letenský masopust: www.facebook.com/letenskymasopust
25. břevnovský masopust 2019 www.facebook.com/events

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