In the evening, bonfires are lit during the traditional witch burning

In the evening, bonfires are lit during the traditional witch burning

In the evening, bonfires will be lit during the witches' traditional ritual

Traditional lantern procession and burning of witches, April 30, 2022 in Liberec – Horní Hanychov.

Prague – In many places in the Czech Republic, during the last evening of April, bonfires are lit during the traditional burning of witches. People will gather, for example, in Prague at Ladronc, Kampa or the Yellow Spa, in Brno na Špilberk, in Olomouc's Korunní Pevnústka and at hundreds of other organized and private events throughout the country. Every year, firemen warn against unnecessary fires and false alarms on the night of Filippojakub. On the thirtieth of April they have to go out more times than is usual on other days.

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People or event organizers should report planned fires to the fire department via the application, thereby preventing them from making unnecessary trips to suspected fires, among other things. The organizers can also ask for the cooperation of the local volunteer firefighters when burning mainly large fires.

Firefighters have more work every year when burning witches. Last year, they went out to 88 fires across the country, which was three less than the year before. According to them, the celebrations were calmer than in previous years. About half of the fires a year ago were in a natural environment, from which, according to firefighters, it can be concluded that they were somehow related to the celebrations.

Weather plays the biggest role in the increase in fires. If there is a long dry and warm period before April 30, the risk of fire is much higher than if the soil is waterlogged. Strong winds are also dangerous, blowing hot coals around. This year, the end of April was accompanied by relatively cold weather with rain showers.

According to an ancient tradition, the night from April 30 to May 1 is attributed with magical power. The holiday was originally celebrated on the full moon, which was closest to the sun exactly between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. Fires were lit on high places to protect against witches. Until today, mostly only the making of fires, during which feasting or singing is preserved. Some places also burn a witch's effigy or broomsticks, roasting dumplings, contests for the best mask, contests in witchcraft skills or a gathering of witches are popular. The Celtic spring festival Beltine falls on the same date, in Northern Europe the last night of April is called Walpurgis.