Czech Year
Czech Year contains information about the important points in Czech history and the events that have an influence on your year (Christmas, Easter, a school year, vacations).

1. 1.

New Year's Day, Day of the Restoration of the Independent Czech State (1993)

Since 1918, there was a Czechoslovak Republic, which eventually split into two separate states. At the same time, the Slovak Republic was established on 1 January 1993.

The origins of Czech statehood date back to the 9th century, from the 16th century the territory was part of the Habsburg Empire and gradually lost its sovereignty. On New Year's Day at 1:00 pm, the President of the Republic always gave a speech. This was the case before and after the 1989 revolution. Václav Havel's speech on 1 January 1990 is memorable, as it was fundamentally different from the speeches of his socialist predecessors. In his introduction he uttered these words: "Our country is not flourishing". The tradition of New Year's speeches was changed by President Miloš Zeman, who moved his speech to 25 December, inspired by the British Queen.

6. 1.

Three Kings

For us, they mark the end of Christmas time (for Catholics, the Sunday after this feast).

You can meet the masks of the three kings (Kašpar, Melichar and Balthazar) on the streets. Every year there is a Tříkrál collection, where people can donate to charity. Scouts walk the streets with money boxes.  The folk proverb On Three Kings Day one step further - means that gradually the light increases, and the day gets a little longer. On the Three Kings Day, the carnival season begins.

31. 1.

End of the first term in primary and secondary schools

On this day, schoolchildren receive their half-year report cards.

If the date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, pupils and students will receive their report cards on Friday, There is also usually 1 day of half-term holidays attached. The school report card for primary and secondary school is always one for the whole year, with two columns for the first and second term grades. Children show the report card to their parents at home at half term and then hand it back to their teachers, they receive it for good at the end of the school year.

14. 2.

Valentine's Day/Lovers' Day

Originally an Anglo-Saxon tradition, it is relatively new in the Czech Republic and is promoted mainly for commercial reasons - buying gifts, flowers, visiting restaurants, etc.

There are two legends about the biography of this saint, most probably the lives of two saints of the same name are intertwined.  In both versions of the legend, St. Valentine was originally a noble Roman. According to one, he was elected bishop of Terni in 203.

St. Valentine of Terni died a martyr's death on 14 February 269 (or 270, or 273) at the behest of the Roman Emperor Claudius II or the Roman senators. According to one legend, after marrying his betrothed according to the Christian rite despite the ban. This was unacceptable in Rome. According to another legend, he had healing powers. This would not have mattered as long as his cured patients did not get baptized to prove their devotion.

15. 2.

Spring holidays - from mid-February

Between mid-February and the end of March, schoolchildren from each region have a week-long spring break.

Parents usually take a vacation and once with the children, for example, go skiing in the mountains. Children can also attend so-called suburban camps, which are prepared mainly by so-called leisure centres (these facilities organise various interest groups - sports, art, handicraft, etc.) throughout the school year and during the holidays.

8. 3.

International Women's Day

An internationally recognized holiday established by the United Nations to commemorate the anniversary of the 1908 New York seamstress strike.  In the Czech Republic, the holiday has been a significant day since 2004.


This holiday is celebrated mainly by the older generation in our country; until 1989, big celebrations were held in workplaces where mostly women worked. The holiday was used for socialist propaganda, which is why some of the public in the Czech Republic has a negative attitude towards it. However, even today women are not deprived of the opportunity to receive flowers, the 'flower' holidays being St Valentine's Day on 14 February and Mother's Day on the second Saturday in May.

(By See Red Women’s Workshop - Vogue, Public Domain,

12. 3.

40 days before Easter (the night before Ash Wednesday)

The carnival season ends and Lent begins.

Mardi Gras (popularly ostatky, fašank, or generally carnival) is a three-day holiday, as well as a festive period between Christmas and Lent. While its beginning, which occurs after the Feast of the Three Kings (January 6), has a fixed date, its end on Ash Wednesday depends on the date of Easter, and thus ends between mid-February and early March. Mardi Gras is mainly associated in villages with a procession of masks. (Carnival = without meat).

12. 3.

Day of Accession of the Czech Republic to NATO (1999)

Two other Central European post-communist countries - Poland and Hungary - joined NATO on the same day.

Until 1991, the Czechoslovakia belonged to the countries of the so-called Warsaw Pact, which was a military bloc of socialist countries, in that year this pact ceased to exist.  In connection with the accession to NATO in 1999, the Czech Army's arsenal was partially modernised at the beginning of the 21st century by acquiring new equipment of both domestic and foreign origin.  Czech soldiers participate in foreign operations on the basis of contractual obligations to international organisations of which the Czech Republic is a member, mainly within the UN, NATO, EU or OSCE. These include participation in peace support and peacekeeping operations, rescue and humanitarian actions

28. 3.

Birth of Jan Amos Comenius (1592)

Comenius is one of the major European Renaissance figures and is considered the founder of modern pedagogy. Because of his religion (he was, among others, the last bishop of the Unity of the Brethren), he had to leave his homeland after 

...the defeat of the anti-Habsburg uprising of the Czech nobility in the early 17th century and worked, for example, in Poland, Sweden, and the Netherlands. He himself experienced the horrors of the Thirty Years' War and was convinced that peaceful coexistence of nations could be achieved through education, especially in language - his original teaching methods and language textbooks gained considerable popularity even among crowned heads during his lifetime. Teachers' Day is celebrated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia on the day of his birth.

Jan Ámos Komenský (Comenius) was an important humanist scholar. He worked in many European countries and is called the teacher of nations.

31. 3.

Beginning of Daylight Saving Time
- end of March

On the last weekend of March, Saturday to Sunday, the clocks will change at 2:00 Central European Time (CET) to 3:00 Daylight Saving Time (DST).

It was first introduced in this country for a short period of time during the First and Second World Wars to save energy, and has been used regularly since 1979. The energy savings are already questionable, but a significant part of the public insists on it because of the longer summer light. Others, on the other hand, point to the negative health effects for more sensitive individuals.

7. 4.

Education Day

The foundation day of Charles University (Universitas Carolina) in Prague (1348), the oldest university north of the Alps and east of Paris.

Since then, the university has been an important symbol not only of education but also of national pride.  At the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, Wenceslas II, the penultimate king of the Přemyslid dynasty, sought to establish a university in Prague, but it was not until his grandson Charles IV, one of the most important rulers in our history (he was also a Roman king and later emperor) that he succeeded.  He himself had received an unusually extensive education (excellent private tutors at the royal court in Paris, where he grew up, and for a time he also attended the Sorbonne) , and therefore considered the establishment of higher learning in the Bohemian lands very important. He was able to do this thanks to the fact that the Pope (who had to approve the establishment of the university) was one of his earlier teachers (Pope Clement VI). Since its foundation, the University of Prague has provided education to students from many countries, and currently about one-sixth of all university students in the Czech Republic study here.  

8. 4.

Easter - April

Maundy Thursday + Good Friday + White Saturday + Easter Sunday - Easter Sunday (+ "Red" Monday - it is no longer a church holiday).  It is a movable feast, governed by the first full moon of spring.

It is the most important Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Old pagan customs associated with the coming of spring are loosely reflected in some religious and folk traditions.   Easter Sunday can range from March 22 to April 25. On Easter we bake the Easter lamb and mazance (traditional Easter pastries), and on Easter Monday we dye eggs so that we have something for those who go to the Monday pomlaza. This is a special kind of carol, where boys and grown men visit women and girls they know to whip them with a willow wand to ensure their health and freshness for the year ahead. Strangers unfamiliar with the meaning of this tradition often misunderstandably refer to it as abuse of women.

22. 4.

Earth Day

We remind the importance of nature and the environment, especially in the larger cities, with a multi-day programme of various awareness-raising programmes, for example, since 2014, the voluntary collection of waste in the countryside "Let's clean up the Czech Republic" has been a regular part of the programme.

In socialist countries, environmental protection was long downplayed, and experts' warnings about obvious risks (increased morbidity and mortality, especially in northern Bohemia and northern Moravia) were considered an ideological diversion. After 1989, the situation gradually improved, and some of the attitudes and actions of the more radical environmental activists (especially in planning new transport constructions) were perceived by society as contradictory.  

1. 5.

Labour Day

In our country, this date is also significant for all lovers (the beginning of the month that is considered the month of love), a boy should kiss his girl under a cherry blossom tree to keep her and ...

...their love fresh all year round (previously this kiss was seen as a promise of marriage).

Even Labour Day (celebrated for the first time in Prague in 1890) was profaned during the socialist era; participation in mass May Day parades was mostly "voluntarily obligatory", and slogans on banners expressed devotion to the ideas of communism. Therefore, after 1989, the interest in these celebrations waned, and instead of state-organised events, the day is commemorated by individual political parties and social organisations, sometimes in an entertaining and novel way, with marches through cities (usually only Prague or Brno) organised by radical movements.  

5. 5.

May Uprising of the Czech People (1945)

About 150,000 people joined the armed resistance against the occupiers (and another 100,000 helped to build barricades against German tanks, especially in Prague).

The wave of mass resistance against German domination began in Přerov on 1 May and was gradually joined by dozens of other places in the still unliberated territory of Czechoslovakia.  In some places the seizure of power took place relatively peacefully, or at least the planned destruction or removal of food and other supplies was prevented; in others, on the contrary, bloody retaliation took place. On 5 May, the uprising began in Prague (and under its influence in other places), and the Prague radio broadcasts played a major role. The liberation of Prague became the subject of a dispute between the USSR and the Western Allies, who were not allowed to come to the aid of the rebels, even though they were ready only a few dozen kilometres away. Red Army units sent from Berlin finally arrived in the capital on the morning of May 9, when most German troops had already left the city to be captured by the Americans.

8. 5.

Victory Day (1945)

Until 1991, it was celebrated a day later in our country (the surrender of Germany took effect on 8 May 1945 at 23:01 local time, but the Red Army followed Moscow time, according to which it was already 9 May, and this date was adopted by other socialist countries).

The official end of Europe's greatest war is still a significant milestone in world history. Although shortly after the defeat of Nazism, the former allies faced each other in the Cold War for nearly half a century, the long decades of peace opened up space for the material and spiritual development of populations almost all over the world.

14. 5.

Mother's Day -
second Sunday in May

There is also a Father's Day (the third Sunday in June), which has been celebrated in the Czech Republic rather sporadically since 2007.

Respect for mothers and motherhood has accompanied mankind since the earliest times, taking its official form in ancient Greece and Rome. In our country, this day began to be celebrated in 1923, mainly thanks to the daughter of President T. G. Masaryk, Alice, after the Second World War, the International Women's Day was given priority. After 1989, it was publicly commemorated again, but the celebration is more private (children give their mothers flowers and small gifts, often handmade).

10. 6.

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Extermination of Lidice (1942)

n 1942, the small mining village of Lidice near Prague was chosen by the Nazis for their brutal act of revenge for the death of one of the highest representatives of the Third Reich, Reinhard Heydrich.

Although its inhabitants had nothing to do with the act of the Czechoslovak paratroopers and the choice of the village was de facto a mistake, all the men were shot on the spot, the women and some of the children were taken to concentration camps, and some of the children were handed over to German families. The village was, in the words of Nazi propaganda, "razed to the ground and its name erased." This barbaric act aroused a great deal of solidarity throughout the world among all sections of the population.

Many hundreds of people and some municipalities, including one of the districts of the Mexican capital, still bear the Lidice name around the world.


18. 6.

Day of the Heroes of the Second Resistance

The assassination of R. Heydrich in Prague by a trio of Czechoslovak paratroopers was the most significant expression of domestic resistance to Nazism in the whole of occupied Europe. 

The paratroopers' hideout in the crypt of the Church of Cyril and Methodius in the centre of Prague was discovered by the Nazis through treachery and surrounded by 800 armed men in the early morning of 18 June 1942. The seven defenders resisted the outnumbered men for several hours, and did not make it into the hands of the Gestapo alive. The then Bishop of the Czech Orthodox Church, Gorazd (later canonized), and hundreds of other people were executed for helping the paratroopers. 

Prague's Church of Sts Cyril and Methodius was built in the 18th century as a Roman Catholic church and was closed shortly after its consecration; since 1933 it has served the Czech Orthodox Church.

27. 6.

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Communist Regime

Immediately after the coup in February 1948, the communists in Czechoslovakia launched a massive wave of political trials to eliminate all those who could threaten their power and to intimidate all citizens.

The symbol of the suffering of hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent people was the execution of a prominent figure in political and social life, Milada Horáková, a deputy from the Czech National Social Party. The largest political trial in Czechoslovakia (over half a thousand people were tried) ended with four illegal death sentences (i.e. judicial murders), which were carried out on 18 June 1950 by hanging.  Milada Horáková was the only woman executed in post-war Czechoslovakia for political reasons.

Albert Einstein and the widow of President Roosevelt, along with many other celebrities around the world, have also sought in vain for clemency for Milada Horáková.

30. 6.

End of the school year

The foundations of compulsory schooling for all children were laid by Empress Maria Theresa in 1774.

Primary and secondary school pupils receive their report cards on this day at the latest and start their main/summer holidays. Unlike in January, their report cards for both semesters will remain permanently, and schools will of course keep a record of their grades. Many families go on holiday (especially abroad) on the day of the report card and this is reflected in increased traffic on the roads, especially if the report card is handed out on a Friday.

5. 7.

Day of the Slavic Saints Cyril and Methodius (863)

To strengthen Christianity and the independence of Great Moravia (the first stable principality of the Western Slavs in the Central Franconian Empire), the mission of two important missionary scholars, Constantine/Cyril and Methodius.

They were to be sent to Moravia at the request of Prince Rostislav by the Byzantine Emperor Michael III.  The two Thessalonian (according to their place of origin) brothers established Old Slavonic as a liturgical language (it was eventually recognized as a third language, along with Latin and Greek, by the then Pope), and Constantine created a new script for it, the first script of the Slavs, which became the basis of Cyrillic. The existence of Great Moravia and its culture is one of the foundations of Czech statehood.

Both of these saints are also co-patrons of Europe and are called the Apostles of the Slavs.

6. 7.

Day of the Burning of Jan Hus (1415)

Jan Hus (Roman Catholic priest, university teacher, religious thinker and preacher) was one of the first European reformers of the Church. 

At the beginning of the 15th century, he taught at the University of Prague and briefly served as its rector, at the same time criticizing the moral decline of the Catholic Church in his writings and sermons. At the Council of Constance, where he voluntarily went to defend his teachings, he was condemned and burned at the stake by the secular authorities, although he had the opportunity to retract his teachings until the last moment. He became an important symbol of the subsequent Hussite movement, of Czech non-Catholic Christians during the Counter-Reformation, and of national liberation efforts, especially during and after the establishment of the independent state in 1918.

Jan Hus significantly reformed Czech spelling when he introduced the predecessors of today's hooks and commas instead of hyphens.

21. 8.

Day of Memory (1968)

The full name of this holiday is the "Day of Memory of the Victims of the 1968 Invasion and subsequent occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops“. 

In the second half of the 1960s, it was not only the political leadership of the country that underwent an increasingly evident process of revival. In the second half of the 1960s, it was not only the political leadership of the country that underwent an increasingly evident process of revival.The efforts to replace the rigid communist dictatorship with genuine democratic principles culminated in 1967/8 with the Prague Spring, which was symbolised by the newly elected head of the Communist Party, Alexander Dubček, and which was then watched with interest by the whole world. All hopes came to an end on the night of 20-21 August, when five Warsaw Pact armies with about half a million soldiers and heavy equipment invaded Czechoslovakia in violation of international law, at the behest of Moscow.

The illegal and violently dispersed commemorations of the 20th and 21st anniversaries of the occupation (1988 and 1989) were among the increasingly clear signals of the end of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

28. 9.

St. Wenceslas, Czech Statehood Day (935)

The longest square in the Czech Republic, Wenceslas Square in Prague, is named after him and is dominated by the monumental Wenceslas equestrian statue.

St. Wenceslas (the third historically documented Czech prince of the Přemyslid family, associated mainly with the spread of Christianity) is the main patron saint of the Czech lands and a symbol of Czech statehood. Despite his defeat by the Saxon king in the 10th century, he managed to preserve the sovereignty of the Czech state, founding the Rotunda of St. Vitus (now St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague), the main church of the principality. According to legend, he was murdered in Stara Boleslav on 28 September (probably in 935). The name Wenceslas has always been a very popular one in Bohemia and Moravia, carried by four Czech kings, and most churches are dedicated to St. Wenceslas.

28. 10.

Day of the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak state (1918)

On this day, the President of the Republic awards the highest state honours.

Several centuries of efforts to regain national and state sovereignty culminated in the end of the First World War. During the war, prominent figures (T. G. Masaryk, E. Beneš, M. R. Štefánik) conducted political and diplomatic negotiations abroad, while others were active in the domestic resistance (A. Švehla, A. Rašín, V. On October 28, 1918, representatives of the domestic and foreign resistance met in Geneva, and on the same day in Prague, the established National Committee negotiated with the Austrian governor on the assumption of power. In the evening the National Committee issued a law on the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state. 

2. 11.

Remembrance of the Dead (Souls)

After Christmas, this day is the biggest religious holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrated by both Christians and non-believers.

On the Memorial of the Dead, popularly known as All Souls' Day, the Church prays for the souls in purgatory. Like many other Christian holidays, it has its origins in a pre-Christian tradition - in this case the Celtic festival of Samhain, when the souls of the departed return home and their relatives use torches made from hollowed-out beets to help them on their journey to the underworld, a tradition taken up by Halloween. The ancient Slavs had a similar ritual associated with the souls of the dead. Even in the strongly atheistic Czech Republic, most people visit the graves of their loved ones at this time (often once a year), decorating them with flowers or wreaths and lighting candles. The deceased can also be remembered by burning candles at home.


17. 11.

Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy

This national holiday is associated with two important historical events, which are not coincidentally separated by exactly 50 years.

November 17th has been International Students' Day since 1941 - two years earlier, the Germans had closed all universities in the occupied Czech lands because of peaceful protests, and many students were taken to concentration camps. On the 50th anniversary of this event, students in Prague organised a large commemorative assembly followed by a mass march to the city centre. The unauthorised march was eventually stopped by the police and the participants who did not disperse in time were brutally beaten - over 500 people were injured. There are still various speculations as to the reason for the crackdown, but in any case it started the very rapid fall of more than 40 years of communist totalitarian power.

6. 12.

Feast of St. Nicholas

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, pharmacists, lawyers, students and prisoners.

Saint Nicholas of Myra is one of the most important personalities of early Christianity and one of its most venerated saints. He is famous for his generosity, which is why his feast day is celebrated with the distribution of gifts to children (but sometimes adults also give each other gifts). This happens on the eve of 5 December, when a trio of Santa Claus, an angel and a devil (either someone from the family in disguise or a "paid service" offered either by other older children or directly by agencies) comes to families with children. St. Nicholas with angels and devils are seen in the streets and on transport vehicles, and various social "St. Nicholas" events are organised, such as competitions for the best mask and costume).  St. Nicholas also inspired the mythical figure of Santa Claus.

24. 12.

Christmas Eve

The most famous symbol of Christmas - the Christmas tree - was originally hung from the ceiling above the Christmas Eve table.

For most children, the most wonderful day of the year, for their parents, often the stress of pre-Christmas gift shopping, cleaning, baking and catching up on work at the end of the year.  Christmas is, again, originally a pagan holiday (the celebration of the winter solstice) and is associated with a variety of different, often quaint and regionally different customs and superstitions (apple slicing, shoe throwing, nutshell boating, etc.). Usually, the whole family gathers around a rich Christmas Eve table (traditional dishes include fried carp with potato salad, fish soup, fruit and sweets), after the meal the decorated Christmas tree is lit and presents are unwrapped, which according to Central European tradition are brought by Santa Claus. For Christians (with the exception of Orthodox churches), the Christmas holidays begin with the evening and midnight service, when many atheists come to churches (often their only church visit of the year).

25. 12.

1st Christmas Day

For Christians, it is on this day (virtually the evening before the first star rises) that the Christmas holidays begin; in the liturgical calendar, it is called the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord or Christmas feast, commemorating the coming of Christ the Saviour into the world. 

In addition to the special liturgy (the three Masses), the symbol of this day is in particular the manger, or nativity scene - a representation of Jesus' birth.

Large nativity scenes are installed in churches, sometimes in squares as part of Christmas markets, small nativity scenes are also in some households (often passed down through several generations), and "living nativity scenes" are a modern tradition in some places.  Again, people usually spend this day with their loved ones, but no longer mainly in a close family circle, but visiting other relatives or acquaintances.  The most famous Czech nativity scene from Třebechovice pod Orebem (now a national cultural monument) was exhibited at Expo 67 in Montreal and was seen by eight million visitors there alone, yet only a few years before it was threatened with complete destruction.

26. 12.

2nd Christmas Day (St. Stephen)

In the past, the service of the grooms usually ended on St.Stephen's Day (because there was no work for them on the farms over the winter), hence the saying "There is no master on St.Stephen's Day". 

Saint Stephen became the first Christian martyr just a few years after Christ's crucifixion. A deacon of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, his claim that Jesus was equal to God was branded as blasphemy by the highest Jewish court, and Stephen was stoned to death. On his feast day in the Czech lands, children went caroling. Adults also visited and gave gifts to each other.

31. 12.

New Year's Eve - end of the year

... the celebration of the end of the old year was named after the eminent Pope Silvester I, who died on 31 December 335.

In contrast to the more intimate family Christmas celebrations, people say goodbye to the old year "collectively" - at big parties, in restaurants with special menus and programmes, dance parties and discos or right on the streets of towns and villages.  The celebration usually starts early in the evening and is usually accompanied by the consumption of large quantities of food and alcohol. A collective countdown of the last seconds of the year is followed by a champagne toast, New Year's kisses and often fireworks. In recent years, however, some cities, including Prague, have moved away from fireworks, but what remains are individually bought and set off fireworks, creating a light and noise backdrop even several days before and many hours after the turn of the year.