Czech Summer Public Holidays

Czech Summer Public Holidays

What do the Czechs celebrate at the beginning of July?

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Every year, two public holidays are celebrated in the Czech Republic on 5 and 6 July. For many working Czechs, these public holidays stand for the start of the summer and holidays. 5th of July is the Saints Cyril and Methodius Day, and 6th of July is the Jan Hus Day. What holidays are those and what is their history?

5th July – Saints Cyril and Methodius Day

The Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is celebrated on 5th July every year. It commemorates two brothers from Thessaloniki who came to Great Moravia, a country in the territory of today’s Czech Republic, in 863. The centre of Great Moravia called Veligrad has not been found, but it is assumed to be located somewhere in the south of Moravia. The missionaries introduced the old Slavic language as the language of worship services and so people could finally understand what was said in the church. Cyril invented the Glagolitic alphabet, tailored to the needs of the Slavic language. The Cyrillic alphabet later evolved from the Glagolitic. He also translated parts of the Bible and other Christian texts into the Old Slavonic.

Where to Learn about the Missionaries

You can learn about the whole Great Moravian culture in the Monument to Great Moravia in Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště, in the east of Moravia. Visitors to the Monument can explore archaeological finds and learn about the life of the Slavs in the early Middle Ages. You will see replicas of period clothing, shoes, rare jewels, tools, and other finds from archaeological sites. At present, a new part of the Monument is being constructed; it should be completed during 2022.

A popular celebration of the Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is the Days of the People of Goodwill at Velehrad in the east of Moravia. The Days have been taking place for over twenty years; this year, they will happen from 3 to 6 July, with a rich programme for the whole family. The Days include popular masses, exhibitions, or concerts with Christian themes.

6th July – Jan Hus Day

Master Jan Hus, or Professor Jan Hus today, holds an important position in the Czech history. Jan Hus was an influential theologian and philosopher, a rector at the Prague University, a Roman-Catholic priest, and a church reformer. He was born in Husinec in South Bohemia around 1369. Hus was one of the first reformers of the Catholic Church, who overtook his successors, Martin Luther, and John Calvin by almost a century. His ideas gave rise to the Hussite Movement, from which Czech Protestant churches evolved. Hus was burned at the stake for his opinions in Constance, Germany, on 6th  July 1415.

In the Footsteps of Jan Hus

When you visit Prague, you will not miss the most visible landmark at the Old Town Squarethe Jan Hus Monument. In Prague’s Old Town, you will also find the Bethlem Chapel, almost a precise copy of the chapel where Jan Hus preached. Another place in Prague related to Hus is the Charles University, particularly its oldest part – Karolinum. Jan Hus worked there as a university teacher and later a rector. Jan Hus was later banished from Prague for his opinions and he found a shelter at the Krakovec Castle in Central Bohemia. Another place you should see is the birth place of Jan Hus in Husinec in  South Bohemia, near Prachatice. There you will find the Jan Hus Centre, which also includes his birth house.