Venezuelan Christmas market to bring ‘a little bit of home’ to community members

Venezuelan Christmas Market in Prague

On Sunday, members of the Venezuelan community in Prague will put on a Christmas market, serving up traditional fare and selling crafts handmade by members of the Venezuelan community in the city. The event is coordinated by the NGO La Casa Venezolana, a group that works to support migrants from the country in Prague. The NGO has teamed up with the Parish of Saint Thomas, and one of the coordinators, Valerio Mendoza, told me more.

“I think this market will be very special and unique because it is made by the Venezuelan migrant community here. All the people who will be selling food, drinks, and making all the crafts are Venezuelan migrants. Especially when it comes to food and drinks, we will have the real treasures and treats that are tied to Venezuelan Christmas, the most traditional dishes. There will be live performances of traditional Venezuelan Christmas songs, so I think this guarantees a very special atmosphere on Sunday.”

Valerio Mendoza | Photo: archive of Valerio Mendoza

How big is the Venezuelan community here in Prague?

“I think the Venezuelan community is quite small compared to others. At the moment it’s around 500 people, unfortunately we don’t have official data because we don’t have an embassy anymore in Prague. It’s not that big, but it has grown a lot over the last ten years. Back in 2010, there weren’t even 100 Venezuelans in the Czech Republic. So over the last ten years, it has grown a lot.”

Since the community is quite small here in Prague, I can imagine that events like these are important for Venezuelans in the city. Why do you think these events are important?

“I think for Venezuelans, Christmastime is extremely dear to us. It’s usually a time where we gather with friends and family to share, and no matter what a horrible year we may have had, when Christmas comes, we try to forget about that and enjoy quality time together. People also spend a lot of time preparing to cook for Christmas. People prepare ‘hallacas’, the most special meal of the year. People slowly start to buy the ingredients, and families decide where the meal will be made. It’s really a change in the mood and the spirit of the people. For us Venezuelans here in Prague, it is really something special if we can just get a little bit of home here.”

Hallaca | Photo: amrothman,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

What is something that non-Venezuelans need to try if they are coming to the Christmas market?

“I totally recommend that they try hallacas, it’s in the same family as the tamale, but I would say it is the big sister or big mother of the tamale because of the ingredients and how it is prepared. There is also the ‘pan de jamon’, which is bread filled with smoked ham, olives, raisins and a sweet and salty dough, it’s just delicious. These two dishes are totally mandatory.”

The market will take place on Sunday, December 10th between 10AM and 4PM in the monastery courtyard of the Church of St. Thomas.

run audio


  • Czech Christmas

    Radio Prague International has prepared a selection of articles on Christmas traditions for you.