Which came first? Carnival or Valentine’s Day?
Carnival dates to ancient Roman and Greek festivals and, later, medieval pageantry before the Lenten fast. The Czech version, masopust, is all about parades and pork from the pig-slaughter feast, zabijačka.
Valentine’s Day as we know it, which has nothing to do with the martyrdom of St. Valentine and everything to do with love letters and candy hearts, didn’t become commonplace until the 19th century.
This year a number of masopust and Valentine’s Day events take place on February 14. Which means you don’t have to choose between these two traditions. You can go whole hog (groan) for both.
All events take place on Saturday, February 14, 2015 unless otherwise indicated:
Eating & Drinking
Masopust: Lokal Hamburk
Tuck into all-you-can-eat zabijačka at Lokal Hamburk (newly opened), as well as the Nad Stromovkou, and U Zavadilů locations, for just 270 CZK. Starts at 11am. Meat by Naše Maso.
Chicago Music Bar is serving a buffet catered by Prague Pie Hole; while Take Your Time Cafe has a fruit plate and bottle of šampusik for 199 CZK with a complimentary flower for ladies.
Masopust: Shrovetide Donuts
A golden-fried donut similar to a beignet, most masopust fests will have them; make your own with this recipe from Czech Specials.
V-Day: Free Hot Chocolate at Prague Chocolate
Nothing better then a mug of so-thick-your-spoon-stands-up-in-it hot chocolate. Prague Chocolate is offering you a free one on V-day; get yours and then head to the Malá Strana masopust parade.
Masopust: Malá Strana
Falling on February 14th this year (the ever-poular Žižkov parade is on Feb 17), this festive pub crawl commences at the iconic pub U Černého Vola, making stops at pubs and cafes along the way, ending in festivities at Charles Bridge and Kampa.
Not a parade exactly, but sure to involve a processional. The Depository of Vyšehrad Chapter House has supposedly enshrined the St. Valentine’s Relics. Held in the basilica of St. Peter and Paul, from 9am to 3pm. Book your spot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Masopust: Vinohrady Masopust Market
Tylovo náměstí hosts a number of enticing market stalls this masopust season through February 17 (starting at 10am daily) including grilled pork specialities and beer.
V-Day: Valentine’s Market (Feb 13)
Located in the Anděl pedestrian area, this seasonal market for sweethearts, run by the same group that brings us the amazing farm market also located here, promises quality chocolate truffles, flowers, and a happy-couples photo booth.
Masopust: Kino Aero’s Masopust Film Screenings
As part of the annual Žižkov district Masopust celebration running from February 14-17, Kino Aero will be screening two films on February 15, Paddington for tots and Wild History for grown-ups.
V-Day: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Le Royal Cinema will screen Audrey Hepburn in her career-defining role as Holly Golightly. Table service, wine; talk about romantic. Spaces are limited and reservations are recommended.
Masopust: Irish Rock Band Vintage Wine
As part of the Roztoky-Únětický masopust festival, located on the outskirts of Prague and hailed as one of the most merry masopust events around, Únětický pivovar has zabijačka delicacies (2pm) and a… Celtic/Irish rock band? Starts at 6pm.
V-Day: New Style Hustle Class
Prague’s Dancer’s Club dance studio has an interesting line-up of evening classes and parties. For Valentine’s Day it’s a special “New Style Hustle” and “Waacking” party with lessons for anyone who’s out of “waack” happening priror to the event.
Masopust: Toulcův dvůr
Where better to celebrate masopust than a medieval farmstead? Lives music, lots of food and craft stalls, mask-making activities for kids, and a parade around the surrounding historic Hostivař area.
The Fata Morgana greenhouse at the Prague Botanical gardens will opens its doors for Valentine’s Day evening tours starting from 6pm (tour can also be booked as a couples package ending with wine at St. Clara’s Vineyard).
Masopust: La Loca Karneval
It’s masopust by way of Rio at La Loca Bar & Lounge’s take on the carnival tradition. Look out for extravagant costumes, a colorful drinks menu, and live beats. Starts at 9pm, entry is free.
You won’t find any offending meat bi-products here at vegan/vegetarian cafe and venue A Maze in Tchaiovna; just lots of heart and soul from purveyors of twang Travis O’Neill and the Cardinal Sins and supporting act (wait for it), Hog Ranch.
Best of Both Worlds
Masopust/V-Day: Blue Moon Valentine’s Zabijačka
Historic Prague 6 pub Na Slamníku will combine their annual pork feast (from 1pm), sure to go down well with the Únětický beer on tap, with live music to fall in love to and activities for families; something for everyone and every holiday.