Why Is There a Public Holiday on September 28TH?

There is a public holiday scheduled on September 28th in the Czech Republic. There are wine festivals going on around this date and there are also traditional religious events and pilgrimages taking place. The reason is that a duke of Bohemia was murdered by his own brother in the 10th century. His name was Wenceslas. Yes, it was the Saint Wenceslas, whose statue is on the Wenceslas Square in Prague.

Saint Wenceslas was a very well educated man. He was able to write and read in the Latin language, which was rare in the 10th century. He was a kind man, who was buying slaves to set them free and he was also paying so called Tribut Pacis (peace tax) to the German Emperor to keep the Czech country at peace. He was very religious and he is also known as the founder of the Czech wine-growing tradition. Almost all we know about this duke is coming from the legends and there are discussions about what was his whole life story.

Boleslav was a brother of Wenceslas. He did not like the Wenceslas's foreign politics, and he was especially angry about the peace tax that the Czech nation was paying to Germany. According to the legend, Boleslav had murdered Wenceslas in front of a church on September 28th in the year 935. This murder made Wenceslas iconic: he was canonized in the 11th century and he became a patron of the Czech nation. September 28th is nowadays celebrated as Saint Wenceslas Day and also the Czech Statehood Day.

Saint Wenceslas was very important for Charles IV, the King of Bohemia from the 14th century. Charles IV made the Bohemian Crown Jewels with the Saint Wenceslas Crown. There is also a legend saying that Saint Wenceslas is sleeping with his knights inside the Blaník Mountain and they would wake up and save the Czech nation when it would be needed the most.

The statue of Saint Wenceslas was installed on the Saint Wenceslas square in the beginning of the 20th century. The picture of the statue is on the 20 Czech Koruna coin.


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