A Night in Prague and Burning of the Witches
On April 30th, my mother and I landed in Prague Czech Republic on one of the most popular nights of the year – The Night of the Burning of the Witches. We had no idea we were about to experience this old Pagan tradition. It was 12am when we arrived and we decided to do some recommended evening sightseeing. The taxi driver dropped us off at Charles Bridge. We had our coats on due to the cold weather and we set out to embark on our journey around old town.
The yellow tint from the street lanterns light up the dark cobblestone streets at night. The alleys and streets are lined with old and elegant buildings. The Charles Bridge sits directly above the Vltava River and offers fairy-tale views of the entire city. The Prague Castle towers high above and the streets of Old Town are filled with restaurants, shops and bars. We were truly in the centre of the city and quickly realized we weren’t in California anymore when six men & women approached us in witch hats.
(En route to Old town at 1am)
(Getting ready to cross the Charles Bridge for the first time)
Witches, Beer and Burning Sticks
We were first greeted by a group of University Students in witch hats. They asked me to snap a photo of them and then gave us recommendations on some late night pubs in old town. I kindly took their photo and watched them stumble over the Charles Bridge out of sight. The bridge led us straight into town. We walked into an old pub where we hung our coats and grabbed a beer. One of the workers outside the bar explained to us what the Burning of The Witches night was – a day that brings luck and money. Sounds like my kinda party. (See Video Below)
(The ceiling of one of the towers on the Charles Bridge)
(The Charles Bridge at Night)
(Old remnants of Catholic Times in Prague – These statues are situated on the Bridge)
(Poster right outside a local pub)
(I heard the Beer was better in Prague – So I had to try one)
(A stop for late night pizza at 4am)
What is the Night of the Burning of the Witches?
The Prague Guide describes this night as such:
“On the evening of April 30th many Czechs gather to build a bonfire and prepare an effigy of the witch that kept winter around so long. Czechs used to believe that the power of witches would weaken as the weather got warmer. So they thought that if they made something that looked like a witch and burned it, they could finally get rid of the cold weather. First, they tie two large sticks together to form a cross. Then they stuff old shirts, pants and socks with straw and place a pointed hat on the top of the stack. The witch is tied to a broomstick and set aside until darkness falls. When the fire is roaring, people roast sausages on sticks, strum guitars, sing their favourite songs and drink beer. Everyone looks forward to nightfall, when they will face the spirits of the witches. As soon as it’s dark, the effigy of the witch is brought out and held up for all to see. Then, with a heave of the arm, it is thrown on top of the bonfire. As the witch burns, so does the last of winter’s chill”
I hope you enjoyed!