During Advent, the city is beautifully adorned with holiday decorations.
The Christmas spirit can be felt from the onset of Advent, which starts the first Advent Sunday before Christmas Eve. In 2017 the first Advent Sunday falls on the 3rd December. Advent (adventus in Latin) means the "arrival". This was a time of strict fasting, where no joy, dance or singing was permitted. As can be seen from the name, its origins are purely religious. However, in the past, there were times of caroling with folk masks - a combination of old pagan traditions with the religious ban on having a good time. People were not supposed to eat meat, with the exception of fish. Advent fasting ended with the arrival of the first star on Christmas Eve. The tradition of lighting the four candles on an Advent wreath is very common now, with the candle light symbolizing the arrival of Christ. These days children get a chocolate calendar which makes it easy for them to count the days until Christmas Eve.
During Advent, towns put up Christmas trees and shop windows are decorated in traditional themes. The largest Christmas trees in the country can be found in Prague in the Old Town Square and at the Prague Castle, where Christmas carols and songs are sung. Boxes for charity purposes are usually placed under these trees. The historic districts of towns throughout the country host Christmas markets where traditional Christmas items can be found - Christmas decorations: straw, wooden, glass, gingerbread, etc. as well as candles, sparklers, Nativity scenes, advent wreaths, ceramics, Christmas cards, toys, sweets, mistletoe, chocolate decorations, traditional Christmas dough decorations, etc. There are also demonstrations of traditional folk crafts - blacksmiths, glassmakers, woodcarvers and makers of holiday decorations.
The first Christmas tree, then called The Christmas Tree of the Republic, appeared in the Old Town Square on 20 December 1925. Under the auspices of the city charity collections took place there every year until 1941. After the WWII the tradition was restored for a short time, but in the early fifties it was canceled. The first post-Velvet revolution Christmas tree in the Old Town Square appeared in 1992.