Czech St. Wenceslas Celebrations

Czech St. Wenceslas Celebrations

The end of summer is a reason to mourn in some places. But Czechs prefer to celebrate.

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At the end of September the entire country belongs to the patron saint of the Czech people. They honor the memory of St. Václav on the day when he was murdered by his brother.

One of the most famous monuments in the whole of Prague and perhaps the whole of the Czech Republic is the statue of St. Václav on Wenceslas (Václav) Square. And it’s not just because this Czech prince is watching over one of the largest squares in the Czech Republic from his saddle. Nor is it because he has witnessed, astride his horse, many of the major events in the history of this country. St. Václav is the patron of the Czech lands and the most popular saint here. His day falls on 28 September, when the Czech Republic celebrates Statehood Day. Come join in.

Český Krumlov opens its museums and galleries at night time.

The South Bohemian town will launch this year’s Saint Wenceslas celebrations on Friday September 27, when the traditional fair opens. Saturday's program in Český Krumlov will start with the International folklore festival, during which groups start performing from 10 am at Svornosti square. However, the South Bohemian town will also be bustling at night, because local galleries and museums will be leaving their doors open from 19:00 - 23:00. You will also be able to see the historical Seidel Photo Studio, Egon Schiele Art Centrum, Monasteries Český Krumlov or the State Castle and Chateaux - stables and harness.

Prague: St. Wenceslas Grape Harvest Festival

Prague is still closely linked with the St. Wenceslas tradition even today. The remains of the Czech prince are stored in the chapel of St. Vitus Cathedral and one of the oldest vineyards, dating back all the way to the 10th century, bears the name St. Wenceslas vineyard. The unique place on the south slope near Prague Castle (Villa Richter area) can be enjoyed on the September 28 with a glass of wine at the traditional grape harvest, where in addition to a number of tastings there will also be demonstrations of authentic manual presses.

The St Wenceslas festival will also take place in the centre of Prague. The Autumn Market (14 to 28/9) at St Wenceslas Square and Republic Square will offer good food and drinks, or even the popular delicacy of medieval kings – snails. All of that will be accompanied by a diverse programme, which will culminate on 28 September with the arrival of Prince Wenceslas to the centre of the events at St Wenceslas Square. You can watch the historical St Wenceslas procession with period programme twice: at 2 pm and at 4 pm.

Traditional pilgrimage in Stará Boleslav

On September 27 to 29 Stará Boleslav - the location of the murder of Wenceslas - will host the National St. Wenceslas pilgrimage. As every year, the program of the St. Wenceslas pilgrimage begins on September 27. Wenceslas remains will also be brought to Stará Boleslav again this year. The focal point of the Saint Wenceslas Celebrations will be Holy Mass, which begins on September 28 at 10:00 am at the square Mariánské náměstí in Stará Boleslav. A musical and theater program will take place from 13.00 at Mariánské square. You can enjoy also traditional craft fair, firework and attractions for children.

Saint Wenceslas - the patron saint of the Czech lands

Wenceslas was a Czech prince, who, after his murder, became a symbol of Czech statehood and a Catholic saint. He was born in 907 and was apparently murdered on September 28 in 935. There are not sufficiently reliable contemporary sources for a precise reconstruction of the life of Wenceslas. His life can be reconstructed from legends and chronicles, both Czech and the chronicles written in the neighboring countries.

Wenceslas was the grandson of Princess Ludmila and the first historically documented Bohemian prince Bořivoj I. Wenceslas was raised by his grandmother - Saint Ludmila. According to tradition, he received at that time an unusually extensive education for rulers, which apparently consisted in the study of Latin and Slavonic books. After the death of the father of Wenceslas the regency government was taken charge of by Wenceslas’s mother Drahomíra. Wenceslas along with his younger brother Boleslav, remained in the care of his grandmother. Between the two women - Drahomíra and Ludmila - and their supporters, a power struggle arose in the principality, which ended in the murder of Ludmila. Legends depict Wenceslas's mother as a champion of paganism, against which stood the champion of Christianity Ludmila, whose role as the protector of the faith was later taken up by Wenceslas. He sat on the princely throne somewhere between 921 and 925. At that time the Czech principality only consisted of central Bohemia around Prague, Stará Boleslav and Mělník. Wenceslas is depicted by legend as almost like a monk on the throne - as a virtuous ruler who bought slaves, destroyed the pagan temples and at the current Prague Castle, even grew grapes for the production of sacramental wine. But it is certain that at Prague Castle he founded the Rotunda of St. Vitus, which became the basis for today's Cathedral of St. Vitus. However, a power struggle eventually resulted in fratricide. In 935, Wenceslas was murdered by his younger brother Boleslav at the entrance to the church in his royal city – today’s Stará Boleslav.