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The day of three Magis is observed on the 6th of January. It reminds of a visit and prostration of three Magis (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) to baby Jesus shortly after his birth in Bethlehem. On this day the children and teenagers walk the streets in a disquise of the three magis and they participate in collecting the money for so-called „Three Magis Collection“ organized by the Czech Charity for the people in need.


The time before lent in Czech republic is observed in a form of a folk holiday (Masopust in Czech), and it takes place in February. People can be see in the streets of the city or in the villages wearing various masks, dancing and eating. We know from history that Masopust was observed before the Ash Wednesday when the lent and fasting before Easter began.


The night of April 30 – May 1 is the time when people gather to burn protecting fires to save them from evil powers. This is a very old and still observed folk custom, connected with the arrival of spring. This night which falls between vernal equinox and summer solstice was believed to have magic powers and the witches were gathering for sabat. That is the reason why girls and women often disguise themselves as witches on this day. The night of St. Filip and James is therefore called Witch Burning night, though different names can be applied in different countries.


The day after St. Philip and James (May 1) is known for building poles called Mays. May consists of a long pole, at the end of which is a small decorated tree. Such a pole is supposed to be the protecting spirit of the village where they are often see until today.


Pilgrimages were originally meant for believers who visited the holy sites. In Czech republic, there are many such sites (Sv. Hostýn, Sv. Kopeček in Olomouc, Sv. Hora in Příbram). Today the word pilgrimage refers to time at the end of August when open markets and street performances are conducted.


November 1 is the All Saints Day, followed by a civil holiday the day after, which has a folk name – Saintlings. This is when people visit the gravesites with their relatives and they light up candles which are supposed to lighten the way for the dead to the Afterworld.


Advent time is the period of four weeks before the Christmas Eve. The word Adventus means coming – expecting of birth of Jesus who gives presents in the Czech families on the Christmas Even. Advent starts between November 27 and December 3. Each Sunday before Christmas has its own name – Iron Sunday, Bronze Sunday, Silver Sunday and Gold Sunday. Most of the families have an Advent wreath with four candles, symbolizing these four Sundays at home. Each Sunday one of the candles is lit to countdown to time left to Christmas.


St. Nicolas goes the evening of December 5 to all Czech households and he hands out presents, sweets and fruit. He is accompanied by Devil and Angel who punish the bad and praise the good children.


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Updated 01-01-1970 01:00