The popular festivals of the Czech Republic are celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy in all the regions of the country. This attitude is propitiated, in part, by the harsh communist oppression to which the Czech people were subjected, during which they were deprived of the celebration of their ancient traditions.
Here we tell you about the main popular festivals in the Czech Republic.
They have thirteen national holidays, of which we highlight the most special ones.
Christmas is celebrated almost all over the world but in this country it is done with true fervour. The streets are filled with light and colour and the squares are filled with street markets. Some of the typical products of this time of the year are sold in the streets. Svařák is a very spicy hot wine with a rich flavour which is served to accompany trdelník, a traditional sweet which consists of a flour dough roasted on a wooden skewer.
Barborky or Feast of Saint Barbara
It takes place on 4th December. According to tradition, the Czechs must cut the branch of a cherry tree which is 10 or more years old and put it in a vase in the house of a single woman. It is said that if the branch blooms before Christmas Eve, it will mean that the woman will marry in the following year. 5th December is Saint Nicholas, a party similar to the Spanish Three Kings Day. At the end of the year, lentils are eaten to attract good luck or 4 nuts are eaten to ensure good health.
Velikonoce or Easter
Another event in the Czech Republic is Easter, which is more related to spring than to Christian tradition. Easter eggs decorated with colours are also sold. On Monday there is a procession of children singing songs. These dates are celebrated as a family and people eat mazanec, an almond and lemon cake with the drawing of on a cross on top.
Burning of Witches
The Festival of the Burning of Witches is one of the most curious and magical Czech folk festivals. It is celebrated on the night of 30th April and is a tradition which dates back to the Middle Ages. At that time it was believed that witches hid in the mountains to practice black magic with the devil. The people of the villages used amulets to protect themselves from curses and lit fires to burn these women. The tradition is maintained today but the atmosphere is more festive. The Burning of Witches is celebrated by burning straw dolls which represent the witches while the women dance around and the men jump over the fire.
It takes place on 1st May and is one of the most popular festivals in the Czech Republic. Couples head to the Petřín park in Prague and kiss under a cherry tree. The reason Lovers' Day is celebrated on May Day is because of a well-known poem by Karel Hynek Mácha called Maj which means, precisely, May.
Another of the festivities of the Czech Republic is the Royal Silverning, which takes place at the end of June in the town of Kutná Hora, also known as "Treasure Chest". It is a celebration that commemorates the arrival of King Wenceslas IV with his wife Sofia. The streets are decorated, knights duel and parades and fireworks shows are organised.
Feast of the Rose of the Five Petals
This is one of the most picturesque events in Czech Republic. It is celebrated in June in the city of Cesky Krumlov and is a tribute to the Rosenberg family, who ruled the city for more than 300 years. That day is a medieval festival, where the crafts of the time are recreated and a spectacular parade of torches takes place. It also features an amazing live chess game.
Other festivities to highlight are:
This takes place on 15th May and commemorates the liberation of the country from the oppression of the Soviet Union. It is named for the cultural and social flourishing which could be enjoyed in the former Czechoslovakia, at least for a time, until the Soviets crushed the nation's dreams of freedom. It is celebrated by playing classical music.
International Folklore Festival
It takes place in the months of June and July in Straznice, Moravia. Thousands of people gather to watch or participate in the contest of Verbunk, which is the traditional dance of the Czech Republic.
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
This is celebrated in July and is one of the oldest film festivals in the world. During the Cold War it was canceled but in the 90s it was able to recover its importance and prestige. The awards which are granted are the Crystal Globe and is celebrated in a luxury thermal station.
The Czechs are especially proud of their folklore which has centuries of history and they love to show their traditions to tourists. Therefore, if you travel to this country, we recommend that you do it during one of the peculiar Czech Republic festivities.