Many Czech festivals combine Christian and pre-Christian elements. One ancient ceremony, traditionally held in the countryside, is the Burning of the Witches on April 30. Farmers tidy their properties and gather on a hill for a grand burning of brooms as a defence against the witches. Couples jump over the dying fire together and the next day single men leave branches with new leaves on the doorstep of their sweethearts.

Another springtime festival is Palm Sunday, Kvetná  nedele, just before Easter. The figure of death, made from sticks and cloth, is ceremoniously burned, representing the end of winter. Green branches are decorated with ribbons and eggs. In Catholic churches, priests bless willow branches and give them to churchgoers. Farmers wave the willows over their fields to ensure a good harvest. In villages some people place willows on their roofs to protect their homes from fire.

The school term ends on Ugly Wednesday (the Wednesday before Easter Sunday). The next day is called Green Thursday. On this day village boys walk around in groups carrying noisemakers called rehtacka. The noise is supposed to chase away Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ. The practice is repeated on Good Friday. On the Saturday, the boys again walk through the village and stop at every house and rattle the rehtacka until they are given money, which they then share among themselves.

 At Easter, people place decorated eggs or kraslice in their homes and shop windows. In a ceremony called pomlázka, men and boys go around gently hitting girls with switches made out of braided birch twigs. In some places, women throw buckets of water on the men, and in others they give them Easter eggs.

  Did you know?
December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. According to legend, St. Nicholas, accompanied by an angel and a devil, visit everyone's home. Children who have been good get a small gift consisting of fruit, nuts or chocolates. Those who have been bad are given a piece of coal or a potato.
November 17 is known as International Students' Day, honouring Czech students' contribution to the fight for freedom and democracy. It is the anniversary of the day when the Germans closed Czech universities in 1939. It also commemorates the student demonstrations that led to the collapse of the Communist government in 1989.

 Christmas celebrations begin on Christmas Eve, Štedrý vecer, which means "generous evening." The Christmas tree is decorated. The presents under the tree are said to come, not from Santa, but from the baby Jesus. Presents are opened after dinner and some people go to midnight mass. On Christmas Day, families get together for a festive meal.

January 1 New Year's Day, Anniversary of the Republic
March or April Easter
May 1  Labour Day
May 8 Liberation Day
July 5  Saints Cyril and Methodius 
July 6  Jan Hus Day 
October 28  Independence Day 
December 24-26  Christmas