Today in Prague, as you may have noticed, some shops are closed and the public transport follows a different schedule and reduces its capacity. That is because on 5th and 6th July, the Czech Republic celebrates national holidays. These days, we are reminding ourselves of some characters that had an influence on the Czech and European history. Let’s have a quick look into the past, and see what the Czechs are actually celebrating these days! Comes with a few tips which places to visit during these days.
Slavic Missionaries Cyril and Methodius Day
On 5th July, Cyril and Methodius are celebrated in the Czech Republic. In 862, they came into Great Moravia, a state that was by that time present on the ground of the present Czech Republic. Their mission was to promote Bible (which they translated into the Slavic language), among, by that time, pagan Slavic population. Through this mission, they brought literacy into the region.
They are very well known as the “Apostles of the Slavs” and they were declared “Patrons of Europe” in 1980. Their commemoration is highly regarded not only by Christians. In Czech primary schools, their story is included in history lectures, and therefore most of the population realizes the importance of this historic event.
Commemoration of Cyril and Methodius is a common Christian celebration among other eastern European countries, such as Bulgaria, Macedonia, Slovakia, as well as Russia (although it is celebrated on different dates in each country, and Russians do not celebrate national holidays on this occasion).
In Prague, you can visit the Church of Cyril and Methodius in Karlín quarter, which is normally open to public every day. To the occasion of the commemoration and national holidays, there is an pilgrimage ceremony on the 5th of July.
In Resslova street, near the Dancing house, you can find The Orthodox Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, accessible to public during weekends. This church is also associated with the happenings during World War II.
The second national holidays celebrates Jan Hus on the 6th July. Jan Hus was a Czech priest and philosopher, as well as a dean and rector at Charles University in Prague. He was one of the first European Church reformers and founder of known Hussitism movement. The followers of his religious teachings then defeated infamous Hussite Wars in the first half of 15th century.
Hus was, for his teachings and beliefs, executed and burned to death on 5th July 1415 in Konstanz. He became a symbol of resistance to oppressive regimes, and his story is, as well as Cyril and Methodius’, an important part of primary education of Czech people. In Prague, you can visit Jan Hus memorial, right in the middle of Prague Old Town Square.