OVERVIEW: Where to go for St. Wenceslas festivities

Where to celebrate Wenceslas Day?

At the end of September, people in hundreds of places celebrate the patron saint of the Czech Republic.

Břeclav: September 23 – 25
As every year, the St. Wenceslas Festival will offer the St. Wenceslas folk craft fair in the center of Břeclav and a rich cultural program. A varied program for children will also be prepared at the Břeclav festivities.

Will be: September 28
Saint Wenceslas festivities in honor of the patron saint of the Czech land, who, according to legend, lived and studied on the local hillfort. People will see the procession of St. Wenceslas with Boleslav and their grandmother Ludmila, a performance by swordsmen or a theater performance,

Kutná Hora: September 24
Folk fair, folk, country and modern music, craft markets, wine tasting.

Stará Boleslav: September 27 – 30
Thousands of people, both believers and tourists, come to the national St. Wenceslas pilgrimage every year. The event culminates with a pilgrimage holy mass, during which a relic (skull) of St. Wenceslas and a painting by Palladium of the Czech Republic are exhibited. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI took part in the celebrations.

Český Krumlov: September 23 – 28
The celebration in honor of the patron saint of Český Krumlov, winemakers and brewers is also a celebration of the national holiday of the Czech Republic. It is an autumn celebration of good food and drink, with lots of entertainment, cultural performances and games.

Dobruška: September 23 – 25
The event will start with fanfares from the town hall and a procession of the St. Wenceslas troupe and will continue, among other things, with a fair of historical crafts and a concert by the band MIG 21

Svijany: September 28
Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech lands and the delicious golden drink, will come to Svijany Castle for the sixth time, precisely on Wednesday, September 28. A magician, swordsmen, puppet theater, beer competitions and a tapping school will perform in the courtyard of the castle.

Telč: September 17
Traditional historical celebration with the arrival of St. Wenceslas draws us into the period of the early Middle Ages. Throughout the St. Wenceslas festivities, there is a craft market in the square.

Ostrava: September 2 – 28
The St. Wenceslas Music Festival will organize 33 concerts throughout the region. He will bring 15 of them directly to the Moravian-Silesian metropolis – whether they are concerts of spiritual or so-called early music, or first-class jazz.

Murder or an accident?

Considering how popular St. Wenceslas is, it’s a bit surprising how little information we have about his life. We know that he already lost his father in childhood. He was raised and educated by his grandmother Saint Ludmila na Budča, but he also lost her when hired killers strangled her with her veil, apparently on the orders of Václav’s mother Drahomíra. Prince Wenceslaus is believed to have been married, but it is unclear whether he had children, although a son Zbraslav is sometimes mentioned. According to anthropologist Emanuel Vlček, he did not die at the age of 28, but in his forties. Some theories have it that it was not a murder, but an unfortunate accident during a fraternal dispute. And the historian Záviš Kalandra even claimed that such fratricide could not have happened, because Václav and Boleslav were one and the same person. For a long time, 929 was given as the year of Wenceslas’ death, today experts lean more towards 935.

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However, these ambiguities have no effect on the popularity of the personality of St. Wenceslas. “For the respect and tradition of St. Wenceslas itself, this question is not decisive given the credibility of his testimony,” Cardinal Dominik Duka told Deník about this some time ago.

Three hundred churches

This is also reflected in the number of religious buildings with Wenceslas’ name. “In the Archdiocese of Prague alone, we have 72 churches and chapels dedicated to St. Wenceslas. There are more than three hundred of them in the Czech lands,” pointed out Dominik Duka. For example, in Prague Castle there is a temple of St. Vitus, Wenceslas and Audrey and in it the Chapel of St. Wenceslas, in Olomouc they have the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Wenceslas, in Ostrava a three-aisled Gothic church. Newly built churches and chapels are also dedicated to the popular saint. It has its temples beyond the borders of our country, not only in Europe, but also in America.

And let’s add to that the number of statues depicting St. Wenceslas, which can be found in churches and in the open air, in cities and in the countryside.

Tomorrow at three o’clock

There is no more famous and popular statue in our countries than St. Wenceslas on horseback, which dominates Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Important historical and cultural events and large demonstrations take place under it. For example, on October 28, 1918, Czechoslovak state independence was proclaimed here. And when you meet someone “by the horse” or “under the tail”, it is quite obvious that even a person who otherwise does not know Prague will hit it off.

However, the popular statue is actually a sculpture. The bronze saint on horseback is surrounded by other patrons of the Czech land: in the front, on the left, stands his grandmother St. Ludmila, and behind her, another of their relatives from the Přemyslov family – St. Anežka. In front, on the right, St. Prokop is looking down on the square, and behind him is St. Audrey. St. Wenceslas on horseback is 5.5 meters tall, with a spear his height exceeds seven meters. The model for the saint’s horse was the military stallion Ardo. The author of the sculptures is Josef Václav Myslbek, who created them between 1887 and 1924. They were installed in the square in 1913, Saints Anežek and Vojtěch were the last to take their places in 1924.

The statue awaits the monarchy

The famous sculpture has its parallel nearby, created by the sculptor David Černý: in the Lucerne passage, there is an almost five-meter statue depicting St. Wenceslas sitting on the belly of a dead horse suspended by its legs from the ceiling. The horse has a drooping head and a protruding tongue, so it resembles a hunted animal.
The statue was created in 1999 as a symbol of the state of the Czech state, which “doesn’t work, but we all seem to be doing nothing”, and it is supposed to hang in Lucerne until the constitutional monarchy is restored in the lands of the Czech Crown.

Savings must be made everywhere, even in castles. They increase the price and shorten the visit time

Carol about the good king

A good king for Stephen
Václav watches from the window.
Everywhere he looks
snowdrifts and ice…

Saint Wenceslas is also known in England and they sing a song about him called Dobrý král Václav (Good King Wenceslas). It is a popular English carol sung on December 26, St. Stephen’s Day. It tells about the good king Wenceslas, who helps a poor subject with his page at Christmas, and when the cold and darkness make his help difficult, he helps himself miraculously. The carol set to music from the 13th century was first published in 1853 with text by John Mason Neal based on a poem by Václav Alois Svoboda. The poem is from 1847 and was published in Czech, Latin and German. The carol is very popular and is often featured in British and American Christmas films. However, we can also hear it in the Czech fairy tale Twelve Months, where it is sung by small carolers right at the beginning.

How václavky got its name

Wenceslas mushrooms are very diverse and there are several species. They are collected from the end of September to November, easily until December. And how did they get their name? “Wenceslas flowers grow regularly around St. Wenceslas,” pointed out the mycologist Oldřich Pojezný. They are traditionally collected from this holiday, and this is where their name, derived from the name Wenceslas, comes from. If you want to collect vaclavkas, it pays to take a really big basket for them, because they are found in whole bunches in large quantities.

St. Wenceslas chant

The St. Wenceslas hymn is a Czech church hymn whose roots probably go back to the 12th century. It is still sung today and was and is an inspiration for the works of famous composers.

View of Házmburk Castle from a helicopter.

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Saint Wenceslas, duke of the Czech land, our prince, pray for us to God, the Holy Spirit! Christ, eleison. You are the heir of the Czech land, remember your race, do not let us perish it in the future, Saint Wenceslas! Christ, eleison. Help us your we ask, have mercy on us, console the sad, drive away all evil, Saint Wenceslas! Christ, eleison.

The article is in Czech

Tags: OVERVIEW Wenceslas festivities

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