Festivals in the Czech Republic

In every country there are celebrated some festivals or special days and we know also some public holidays but it is different from country to country.
In the CR we have 2 main festivals - Easter and Christmas.

Easter (death and resurrection of Jesus)
Easter Monday is Monday after the first full moon in spring. Easter is a fun time. Many traditions are still observed and practiced, especially in villages, and different regions may have their own Easter traditions and customs. Many Czech Easter symbols are related to spring and the beginning of new life. Some of the best known are Easter eggs, decorated eggs called “kraslice”, pussywillow, “pomlázka” it is a braided whip made from willow twigs. Other symbols of Easter ate baby animals.
Days when Easter is celebrated have special names: Ugly Wednesday, Green Thursday, Good Friday, White Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Sunday is a day of preparations for Easter Monday. Girls paint, color and decorate eggs and boys prepare their pomlázkas! The origin of this tradition dates back to pagan times. Its original purpose and symbolic meaning is to chase away illness and bad spirits and to bring health and youth for the rest of the year to everyone who is whipped with the young pussywillow twigs. Boys would whip girls lightly on the legs. The girl would then reward the boy with a painted egg or candy and tie a ribbon around his pomlázka. As the boys progressed through the village, their bags filled up with eggs and their pomlázkas contained lots of colorful ribbons.

Christmas (birth of Jesus)
In my opinion Christmas is the most popular festival for everybody, exactly for children. 24th December (Christmas Eve) is festive day because we celebrated birth of Jesus. All day people can’t eat meat and sweets, only dishes from fish. In the morning people decorate Christmas tree and somebody may have the nativity scene under the tree. Women prepare fish soap for lunch. In the afternoon children can watch fairytales in the TV or if the weather is good parents can go with them for a walk. At about 5 o’clock people eat Christmas dinner which contains fried carp with potato salad. During the afternoon the room with Christmas tree is usually locked and children are looking forward to hear the voice of the bell which means that Ježíšek was here. After that family go to the tree, sing a Christmas carol and open the presents. At night some people go to the church. 25th December (Christmas Day) and 26th December (Boxing Day) are days when members of family and friends visit each other.

National holidays:
1st January - New Year - celebration of new year and establishing the Czech Republic in 1993
1st May - Workers Day (Labour Day) - origin in the 8 hour day movement; working conditions
8th May - Liberation Day - in 1945 the Second World War ended; the CR was liberated by Russian and American armies
5th July - St Cyril and Methodius Day - in 863 they brought Christianity and new language to Great Moravian Empire
6th July - Jan Hus Day - priest and rector of Charles University was sentenced to death by burning in Kostnice in 1415
28th September - St Wenceslas Day - patron of the Czech nation; he was killed by his brother Boleslav
28th October - Czechoslovak Independence Day - in 1918 the Czechoslovak Republic was established
17th November - Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day - in 1939 student’s demonstrations; in 1989 the velvet revolution started

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