Prague's Žižkov district celebrates twenty years of Masopust
Traditional carnival celebrations preceding the beginning of Lent are taking place all over the Czech capital, with many neighborhoods organizing their own celebrations. Prague’s Žižkov district holds the claim to the longest running post-communist tradition of Masopust festivities, as they are called in Czech. This year, Žižkov celebrates the twentieth Masopust in the neighborhood.
Many of this weekend’s activities, which the Prague 3 city hall helped to organize, were geared toward families with children. The program included mask making as well as a cartoon screening at the favorite Aero movie theater – a Žižkov staple.
I asked one of the organizers on Sunday, about who usually comes to celebrate Masopust at the pub.
“Many of the same people have been coming here for 20 years; old people from Žižkov, but not only from Žižkov. One man comes from Frýdek-Místek, which is some 600 kilometers away. Some foreigners, people with children. Occasionally, some visitors who are passing by and decide to stop in. I think [it is because] we have a good reputation.”
“We all know each other here, at least a bit, so it almost feels like home. We gather here every year. Some of us seniors go dancing together too. And we meet up all the time, wherever there is music, we go there.”
The main Masopust attraction, though, is still the Tuesday afternoon parade. Over the past twenty years the parade route has expanded from just a couple of hundred meters from the pub to the nearby town hall, to almost two and a half kilometers that take revelers from the largest square of Žižkov to one its most popular football stadiums.
“During the procession we will be giving out almost 3,000 portions of liver sausages (jitrnice) and blood sausages (jelito). Near the Viktoria Žižkov stadium there will be a special event – the portioning of huspenina (pork-based aspic). It should come out to 1,000 portions. I hope that we will make it onto the list of Czech records and curiosities that is compiled in Pelhřimov.”
The Masopust carnival will wind up on Tuesday evening with a concert of the band Sto zvířat, as all carnivals, grudgingly welcoming Lent.