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Czech Traditions

Christian traditions

Shrovetide

A three-day festival before Ash Wednesday, which begins the 40 days of Lent, which ends on Easter. Like Easter, this feast was movable – it could happen any time between February 1 and March 7. The preparations for Shrovetide – on so-called Fat Thursday – were often preceded by a …

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The Burning of the Witches

On the evening of April 30th many Czechs gather to build a bonfire and prepare an effigy of the witch that kept winter around so long. Czechs used to believe that the power of witches would weaken as the weather got warmer. So they thought that if they made something …

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First May

On May 1, couples gather around the statue of Karel Hynek Mácha, the Czech Romantic “poet of love”, in Prague’s Petřín Hill where they lay flowers and spend a few moments. The park is a particularly romantic place in May when its cherry trees are in bloom. Since May 1st …

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Saint Nicholas Day

The St. Nicholas tradition is supposedly based on a 4th century Greek bishop named Nicholas who is said to have left a gift of money on the windowsill of three poor girls to enable them to get married. When you walking on the December 5 evening in Prague’s streets you …

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Advent

The name of this period comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “arrival.” It concerns the period of the arrival or birth of Jesus Christ, who is perceived as the Saviour or Messiah. The Advent period lasts four weeks and is a time of fasting, when old Bohemian Advent …

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St. Joseph’s Day

The Czech St. Joseph’s Day is a more subdued version of the Irish St. Patrick’s Day and is celebrated around the same time in March every year. Josef is historically one of the most common Czech male first names. It used to be extremely popular in the past. For example, …

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Hromnice (Groundhog Day)

The day of Hromnice is a significant day for Czech weather-related folklore. It falls on February 2nd, the same day the popular Groundhog Day is celebrated in the United States. And no wonder – both are based on the same ancient Celtic tradition. The weather on Hromnice is a sign …

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Passion Week (Holy Week)

The last week of the 40 days of Lent is called Passion Week, in memory of Christ’s suffering. All the ceremonies in this week were of a mournful nature. The Passion of St. Mark was read on the Tuesday and the Passion of St. Luke was read on the Wednesday. …

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Hunting For Mushrooms

Hunting for mushrooms is generally deemed to be the pastime of the nation in the Czech Rep, with 70% of its’ citizens engaging in this activity. Once mushrooms sprout in forests, people venture out with a wicker basket to collect them—and these mushrooms are not just normal mushrooms.  The mushroom …

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