On the 5th and 6th of July, there will be public holidays in the Czech Republic. Each of the two days commemorates something different. This year, the holidays occur on Tuesday and Wednesday. Czechs have these days off of work, and many companies give their workers the proceeding Monday off as well. A long weekend is the perfect way to kick off the summer holidays!
These two holidays are more than just days off work. They actually are very important for the Czech people. Below are brief descriptions of what these holidays are for, and how they came to be.
July 5: Saints Cyril and Methodius Day
In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, July 5th is the feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
These two saints were actually brothers. They were born in what is today the Greek city of Thessaloniki back in the 9th century.
They are important saints to the Slavic people, even earning the titles “Apostles to the Slavs”.
The brothers were both missionaries during their lifetimes.
They are best known for their mission in 862 to help evangelize the Slavic people of Great Moravia. In preparation for their trip, Cyril created the Glagolitic alphabet, the oldest Slavic alphabet. With this alphabet, the brothers translated holy books for the Slavs.
The Glagolitic alphabet is the ancestor of modern Cyrillic alphabets. The name Cyrillic comes from Cyril’s name.
The brothers were originally given the title of “equal-to-apostles” by the Orthodox Church, but were later also given a feast day in the Catholic Church. Thanks to Pope John Paul II, the saints were named co-patron saints of Europe.
July 6: Jan Hus Day
Jan Hus Day takes place to commemorate the death of Jan Hus in 1415.
But who was Jan Hus, and why is he so important?
In English, you may know him better as John Huss. He is best known for speaking out against the teachings of the church. Along with John Wycliffe, Hus was seen as one of the main predecessors of Protestantism.
Jan Hus was a very well educated man who got his masters at Charles University. He was later ordained as a priest. Despite being a priest, he still advocated for church reforms. Hus was in favor of limiting the powers of the church, stopping the sale of indulgences, and translating holy works to Czech.
This put him at odds with the Catholic Church who did not like dissenters. The Church would later excommunicate him. A few years later, Hus was put on trial for his beliefs and found guilty of heresy. The punishment was death.
On the 6th of July, 1415, Jan Hus was burned at the stake.
During his life, Hus acquired a following of people who prescribed to his teachings. They were angered his execution and later fought against the Church in what are known as the Hussite Wars.
Though he did not directly start the reformation, the actions of Hus paved the way for other reformers such as Martin Luther to challenge the teachings of the Church.
Now you know who to thank for the long weekend you are about to enjoy!
Your team at The Spot