14.12.2017 23:02


Ostrava is lighting up a Christmas tree

Autor: Richard Kuczinský | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

The centre of Ostrava is again full of people. It might be unpleasant elsewhere, but I feel very happy now and here. I am walking through the crowded Masaryk square in Ostrava, which is empty in the other seasons of the year. For many years, Ostrava has been struggling with the problem of having its centre depopulated – people spend time in malls rather than going to the city centre. So, what has attracted so many people to the centre? In a few tens of minutes, a Christmas tree will be lit up.

I am walking slowly through the centre and passing one person after the other, all of them radiate the joy and pleasure associated with the approaching Christmas. It is an advent, a period of rest and peace, but for others it means also stress and hurry – many people buy gifts for their closest at the last minute. But here, time looks as stopped, everyone has forgotten his everyday worries, and with the expectation of small children everybody is waiting for the lighting up of Christmas tree. A typical Christmas scent - mulled wine or Christmas candy - is sprawled by air, but at the same time I can smell a lot of traditional meals - potato pancakes, halušky or huge sausages. People are standing in long queues and looking forward to specialties.

The Christmas tree is standing in middle of the entire square, where traditional Christmas markets are held. People are buying a variety of clothes, mainly woollen gloves, hats, scarves, or socks - important pieces of equipment for the coming winter season. Others buy typical Indian musical instruments from Indians who come to Ostrava every year to sell their goods.

Christmas ice rink is also part of the Christmas celebrations, it has been eight years since people can ice skate there. Today it is full of happy ice skaters, from the smallest children to the cheerful seniors. Many of the skaters fall to the ice, but none of them are angry, everybody is laughing. The loving couples are ice skating hand in hand, some of them are holding their little kids and teaching them to skate. In the middle of the ice area, among all the skaters, a huge penguin, a mascot of a Christmas ice rink, is skating. There is a Ferris wheel behind the ice rink, where "passengers" have a nice view of the whole of Ostrava. 

Finally, the lightening of the Christmas tree has come. People are gathering around it and hovering impatiently. The moderator is starting to count: "3, 2, 1, now!" Moderator is screaming into the microphone and he has lighted the tree up. People are applauding and laughing, and some of them are singing Christmas carols, others are slowly leaving the square. It looks like people just have come to watch someone plug the bulbs into electricity, but it is not a true. Visitors have come to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere, to talk with family or friends, to have a mulled wine. And the lighting up of the tree was just icing on the cake. 

Another benefit of this event is that it revives the city centre. The centre, which is sometimes mockingly called the "City of Death," is full of happy people. People are not sad at all, they are happy that the citizens of Ostrava like their city and can enjoy their time elsewhere rather than in the shopping centres.

Klíčová slova: Christmas tree

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