Statehood Day 2017 and 2018
Statehood Day is celebrated in the Czech Republic on 28 September. It should not be confused with Independent Czechoslovak State Day on 28 October.
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Statehood Day is also known as Wenceslas Day. Wenceslas was the Duke of Bohemia and was born in Prague around 907 AC. He was assassinated on 28 September in (929 or) 935 and that date is also his feast day in the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Wenceslas, a Christian in a pagan environment, reigned with courage, dignity and piety, which is why the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I (912–973), posthumously elevated him to the title of King – now the subject of the song ‘Good King Wenceslas’.
Legend says that if the Czech Republic is in danger that Wenceslas will awaken his army of sleeping knights, hidden in the Blanik mountain, and will rescue his people.
Wenceslas is the patron saint of the Czech Republic including Bohemia and Prague. On the 28 September public holiday, at Prague Castle, the president bestows the Saint Wenceslas medal on those who have made significant contribution to the statehood of the Czech Republic.
The day is a combination of state celebrations and religious observances. On the evening before, a pilgrimage places the relic of the Cranium of Saint Wenceslaus in Saint Wenceslas Basilica in the town of Staré Boleslav where he was murdered. The Castle Guards of Prague Castle accompany it and it is a solemn and grand affair.
Often on 28 September other events are held, including concerts and dancing that encourage the significance of statehood and Saint Wenceslas.