St. Wenceslas Day — Statehood Day 2023: The 28th of September is St. Wenceslas Day, and we observe it by remembering and studying its history. It is also Czech Statehood Day, which has been a national holiday in the Czech Republic for the past two decades. Did you know that on this day, the cranium of Saint Wenceslas is paraded through the town of Brand’s nad Labem-Stará Boleslav, where the saint was murdered, by the archbishop of Prague?
HISTORY OF ST. WENCESLAS DAY — STATEHOOD DAY
Saint Wenceslas Day is also the feast day of Saint Wenceslas, the sovereign of Bohemia and patron saint of the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, he was the victim of a murder plot hatched by his own sibling, Boleslav.
Due to his father’s passing in 921, Wenceslas governed from 922 when he was 15 years old. He had a vision to unite Bohemia and make peace with Germany, but his brother Boleslav and the rest of his family were hesitant about this. Boleslav murdered Wenceslas and the families of Wenceslas’s supporters in an effort to seize power. Wenceslas was venerated as a deity as a result of his martyrdom. He was also given the title of king by Holy Roman Emperor Otto I after his demise. Thus, he is the same King Wenceslas mentioned in the Christmas carol ‘Good King Wenceslas.’
St. Wenceslas is a venerated saint and martyr who was instrumental in the consolidation of the Pemyslid dynasty and the liberation of the Czech state. Due to the endeavors of the Christian Democratic Party, the feast day of St. Wenceslas became a national and public holiday (Statehood Day) in the Czech Republic in 2000, and is now annually observed. It is actually two festivals on the same day, but both celebrate the same thing: the founding of the Czech Republic and its patron saint.
In addition to the normal celebrations, each year at Prague Castle, where a wreath is deposited on the statue of St. Wenceslas, St. Wenceslas medals are awarded to those who have contributed to Czech statehood. There are even pilgrimages to Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav, where St. Wenceslas was murdered.
FAQs about ST. WENCESLAS DAY – STATEHOOD DAY
What does the name Wenceslas mean?
The name Wenceslas translates to “greater glory”
Where is Wenceslas laid to rest?
St. Wenceslas is interred in Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral.
Which language did the Czechs speak?
According to Britannica, Bohemians spoke the “Czech language, formerly Bohemian, Czech retina, a closely related West Slavic language to Slovak, Polish, and the Sorbian languages of eastern Germany.”
HOW TO Observe ST. WENCESLAS DAY – STATEHOOD DAY
The traditional St. Wenceslas dish can be ordered.
The traditional holiday entrée is roasted goose with red cabbage and potato dumplings.
Attend a religious service.
This day is traditionally observed with religious services across the nation. Attend a church service with your family to venerate the patron saint and pray for the nation’s continued safety.
Visit the statue of the patron deity
Visit Saint Wenceslas’ statue in Prague to pay your obeisance.
ST. WENCESLAS DAY — STATEHOOD DAY DATES