Czech Mardi Gras (masopust) celebrations get under way this weekend and run through early March. With its ritual pig slaughter, masked parades, and beer-fuelled pomp, the holiday is admittedly for many of us the very reason we live here.
New in 2016: Vršovice, fast becoming the epicentre of cool people in Prague, has its first annual masopust parade, organized by a group of cool people in Prague including the owners of Fajnšmekr deli. It begins at Herold Park on February 6 ends at Pivnici Ferdinand. A mask-making workshop will take place at community center Vykladni Skrin that day; the entire event will be filled with family-friendly fun.
Other popular neighborhood celebrations include: Letenský masopust (Feb 6), Karlínský masopust (Feb 6), Břevnovský masopust (Feb 9), Malostranské masopust (Feb 6) and the mighty Žižkovský masopust (Feb 6). The annual Baroque carnevale in Old Town (Jan 29-Feb 9) features gondola rides and a “Boudoir” for primping in lavish 17th century style.
Not super squeamish and want to see a zabijačka in action and maybe try the pork-tacular specialities of season? The National Technical Museum hosts its annual pig sticking on Jan 30; Uneticky Pivovar hosts one Feb 20. Or get straight to it over at U Vystřelenýho Oka on Feb 7 for pork ribs and blood and white sausages.
A Vinohrady carnival market at Tylově náměstí is now open and will run through Feb 9.
As always, Rotzoky masopust is worth traveling for its brilliant carnival pageant and fun folk festival vibe.