Prague celebrates the 10th annual Three Kings Procession
Wednesday saw the 10th annual Three Kings Procession in Prague, to mark the festival of Epiphany, re-enacting the journey of the Three Wise Men to visit the infant Jesus. The procession included musicians, live camels and a nativity scene complete with Mary, Josef and a live baby Jesus. The event, which has now become a Prague institution, was the brainchild of a Spanish priest and missionary. People gather every year to watch the colourful procession and bring gifts for charity. This year, toys were collected for children at a Prague hospital.
"My son is almost four years old and I came last year with him and it's just enjoyable. For the kids it is a special event. I like to get back to some old cultural roots. You know, I am not an explicit Christian but we all grew up here with the classical celebration of Christmas. Since I am a mother now, I am learning to go on with the tradition. I like to tell stories, I think it is important to remember old stories, I don't really go with the Christian history but I like to tell the fairytales to keep in mind that everything is not Spiderman and not the supermarket."
The Czech Republic is one of the least religious countries in Europe. During the communist era, the Catholic Church declined still further. There is a major shortage of priests, practically a whole generation is missing. Catholic priests are being brought in from other parts of the world. Priest, Alberto Geraldo, came over to the Czech Republic from Spain thirteen years ago. The procession was his idea and he was dressed as one of the Three Kings on camel this year. I spoke to him about what inspired him to start this event ten years ago.
"This event marks the welcoming of the Three Kings to Prague. The goal of the procession is to re-awaken the tradition of the Three Kings and to bring hope and something beautiful and holy to the people, especially to the children and at the same time to help the needy."
I also spoke with, Bohuslava Bouckova, one of the organizers of the event about why she thought the event was so important:
"I think this is a really important event because many little children don't know anything about the Christmas story and if their grandparents take them to look at nice camels, nice kings and little baby Jesus and if anybody explains it, it might help the revival of Christian traditions in this country."