While much of the world focused on the Anglo-Saxon holiday of Halloween on Oct. 31, Czechs were looking forward to the traditional Czech holiday of All Souls´ Day, with four-fifths of Czechs celebrating on Nov. 2 each year.
According to the STEM/MARK agency survey, most people celebrate All Souls´ Day by visiting graves of their relatives. The survey shows that 83 percent of citizens consider this holiday important. However, only one-fifth of Czechs go to the cemetery exactly on Nov. 2, when All Souls´ Day is actually celebrated.
Within the Czech Republic, people in Moravia follow the tradition of All Souls´ Day more than people in Bohemia. According to the survey, 88 percent of people in Moravia celebrate this day as opposed to 77 percent in Bohemia.
However, half of Czechs do not consider All Souls´ Day or the All Saints’ Day, celebrated on Nov. 1, to be important enough to be a public holiday.
According to 10 percent of respondents, All Saints’ Day on Nov. 2 should become a public holiday in the Czech Republic. These supporters say Czechs deserve a day off as it is the Catholic celebration of people who have already entered heaven. Nevertheless, only 15 percent of respondents actually know that this day is a Catholic holiday even though it was once celebrated as a public holiday in Czechoslovakia until 1948.
As Halloween grows more popular worldwide, Czechs have also become more familiar with it.
According to the survey, almost 99 percent of Czechs know this Anglo-Saxon holiday. Almost half of the respondents practice certain Halloween customs, with most people saying they carved pumpkins. Compared to the 2015 survey, this tradition has increased in the Czech Republic, with only 30 percent of Czechs following it four years ago.
However, the All Souls´ Day celebration also has a dark side. According to police statistics, thefts and vandalism are increasing during this period.
As a result, police in Prague plan to strengthen patrols in and around selected cemeteries. During the day, patrol officers and horse patrols will supervise the sites, and officers with police dogs will head to the cemeteries at night.