The Christmas mood gets underway at the beginning of Advent, the four-week period before Christmas Day (December 25). During Advent, the city is beautifully adorned with holiday decorations. In many places around the city, Christmas trees are lit - a typical symbol of the holiday season. The most famous and largest Christmas tree is traditionally on Old Town Square, where you can also find the largest Christmas market in the city. The first harbinger of Christmas is St. Nicholas Day. On the evening of December 5th, you can often see this protector of children out on Prague's streets and squares. A devil and an angel usually accompany him as he visits young children and gives them small gifts. Before Christmas, everyone rushes to buy presents so that all their loved ones will have at least one small surprise under the Christmas tree. Big tanks with live carp swimming in them appear on the city streets around December 20th. Every good Czech housewife bakes many different kinds of Christmas cookies, braided buttery Christmas vánočka (a kind of sweet bread), and fragrant apple strudel.
On Christmas Eve, December 24th, the whole family eats a special holiday meal together. The menu traditionally includes fish or pea soup, fried carp with potato salad, and Christmas cookies for dessert. After dinner, a bell rings to announce that Baby Jesus has brought the presents, and the family gathers around the festively lit Christmas tree to sing carols and open gifts. Christmas in Prague means plenty of concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events.