Masopust will see several celebrations

Many neighborhoods are moving the Tuesday festival to a more convenient Saturday

Mardis Gras falls on Feb. 28 this year. The Czech variation on the pre-Lent festival is called Masopust, roughly meaning meat fast. Due to the still wintry weather, it will never be as popular as its cousins in New Orleans or Brazil, but many towns and Prague districts still have some small celebration. Since Tuesday, when Masopust always occurs, is a work day, some places will celebrate over the weekend so children can attend. The celebrations due to their religious roots were frowned upon during the communist era and began again after the Velvet Revolution, so there is not a long tradition. More places, though, are joining in each year.

The big festival in Prague again is in the Žižkov district of Prague 3, which is celebrating Feb. 25, 26 and 28. Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad will host a Žižkovská pouť (Žižkov Fair) Saturday, Feb. 25, starting at 2 pm and going to after 6 pm, and again on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 10 am and also going to 6 pm.

The fair will feature a market, shooting games, live animals, music and lots of pork to eat.

Sunday will also see a pork celebration from noon to 5 pm at the pub U Vystřelenýho oka, and a humorously commented walk in Czech of the neighborhood starts from the pub are 2 pm. At 5 pm at Palác Akropolis, Jožka Černý will play dulcimer music. There are also films in Czech at kino Aero.

The big event is the Masopust Parade on Feb. 28, and anyone can join in. Costumed people and performing groups gather at náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad from 4 pm to 5 pm, and the march starts at 5 pm and lasts until 6:30 pm, when it ends at the park in front of FK Viktoria Stadion. A fire show and other entertainment will take place.

Another big celebration is just outside Prague takes at the town of Roztoky on Feb 25. This one, now in its 20th year, starts with the coronation of the Masopust Queen parade from the Roztoky chateau at 11 am. A masked parade will go up Kroupka hill, across the town square and toward Únětice to meet masked parades from Suchdol, Únětice and maybe Úholičky at Holý vrch hilltop. The combined parade will return to Roztoky where there will be a large circus tent with entertainment. Organizers say everyone is welcome.

Prague Zoo will also celebrate Masopust on Feb. 25, with children making masks in the morning and a parade at the zoo at 1 pm.

Prague's districts of Hradčany and Malá Stana has a celebration that begins near Prague Castle and ends at Kampa island on Feb. 25. People should gather between 1 and 1:30 pm at U Černého vola at Loretánské náměstí and eventually follow the parade to Kampa in Malá Strana. Events at Kampa begin at 3 pm and the parade should arrive at 4 pm. There is some drinking involved in getting ready for the parade, and the organizers list several pubs that are part of the celebration. Kampa also has pork festival Feb. 23–26 from 11 am to 6 pm.

Letná and Holešovice in Prague 7 have an elaborate program with a parade starting at Strossmayerovo náměstí at 10:30 to 11, heading to the National Technical Museum at 11:30,where Long Vehicle Circus will be in front of the building, Further events will be inside the museum with free admission for masked people. The nearby National Agriculture Museum will have events from 1:10 pm to 6:30. Galerie Scarabeus and the Coffee Museum - Muzeum kávy Alchymista will have puppetry and exhibits from 11 am to 5:30 pm.

Prague's Karlín district in Prague 8 will celebrate Masopust for the 14th time Feb. 25 with events at Karlínské náměstí from 1 pm to 6:30 pm and a parade. Music at the square will include popular acts such as Sto zvířat, and the Long Vehicle Circus will perform. A side program includes ice skating, animal rides and arts and crafts for children. Karlínské Spektrum, also at the square, will have some events such as puppetry, but these shows require an admission fee.

Other places in Prague or its suburbs such as Toulcův dvůr, Střížkov, Jižní Město, Třeboratice, Suchdol and Vestec will be having more local celebrations as well on Feb 25. A handful of places such as Chvalský zámek will celebrate on Feb. 26.

In addition to Žižkov there will be celebrations on Feb. 28 at Dolní Počernice, Klamovka, Břevnov and Petrovice.

Masopust is called Mardis Gras and Carneval in other countries. It is the last day before the start of the Christian season of Lent, which starts with Ash Wednesday and leads up to Easter. In the 40 days of Lent, the faithful are supposed to make personal sacrifices and abstain from pleasure. Masopust is the last chance for enjoyment of secular things for more than a month. Easter falls on April 16, 2017. Good Friday on April 14 and Easter Monday on April 17 are national holidays.

Žiž or
Hradčany and Malá Stana:
Karlín: and

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