Prague Travel Guide
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EVENTS

The year begins with a festive New Year's Eve celebration, followed by holidays like Three King's Day (6 January) and the Anniversary of Jan Palach's death (19 January), which honours the memory of a Charles University student who burned himself to death in protest of the 1969 Soviet occupation.

Easter Monday, which falls in either March or April, is a classic rite of spring: Czech men of all ages swat at their favourite women with willow swatches, while the ladies respond with gifts of hand painted eggs, after which everyone parties.

Labour Day (1 May) is a communist leftover that coincides with the much older Majales, a spring festival dating back at least two centuries. Majales was banned by Nazis and communists, revived during the 'Prague Spring', subsequently squelched by Soviets and reincarnated in 1997. Majales' bands, dancers, floats, costumes, beer and sausage have since returned with a vengeance.

Liberation Day was celebrated 9 May (the day in 1945 that the Red Army marched into Prague) under the communist government, but in recent years you've had to get there by 8 May (the day Prague liberated itself) to enjoy the festivities.

1 Jan - New Year's Day
24 Dec - Generous Day (Christmas Eve)
17 Nov - Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day
8 May - Liberation Day
1 May - Labour Day
5 Jul - SS Cyril & Methodius Day
28 Oct - Independence Day
28 Sep - Czech Statehood Day
26 Dec - St Stephen's Day
25 Dec - Christmas Day
6 Jul - Jan Hus Day
Mar/Apr - Easter Monday


When to Go

While attractions across much of the Czech Republic are closed or keep limited hours outside the summer season, Prague caters for visitors all year round. Periods when the tourist crush is especially oppressive include the Easter and Christmas/New Year holidays, as well as May and June. Many Czechs go on holiday in July and August, during which time the supply of bottom-end accommodation actually increases, as student hostels are opened to visitors. If you can put up with the cold and the periodic smog alerts during weather inversions, hotel space is plentiful in winter (outside Christmas/New Year), and Prague is gorgeous under a mantle of snow.



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