April 30th is an exciting day for Czechs who gather and celebrate the end of winter and arrival of spring. The festival of Čarodejnice, also known as the night of the witches, is an ancient tradition of witch burning.
Historically, the eve of April 30th was considered magical and people believed witches would gather. To protect themselves from the witches, spirits, and demons people lit fires to ward off all evil.
Nowadays, in the Czech Republic, the holiday is considered is a celebration for young and old. People burn straw witches on the bonfires and hand out free broomsticks at Ladronka park in Prague 6. Children enjoy performances of witches in costume while adults enjoy live music, roasted sausages, and beer.
In the Czech Republic, the holiday precedes May 1st, the annual festival of love. It is one of the first large outdoor events of the year and Ladronka and Žluté lázně are two of the most popular spots to celebrate in Prague. The festivities at Ladronka only forming one small fraction of the Čarodějnice celebrations taking place around the country for this age-old Czech tradition.