As the whole world loves Czech beer, it’s hardly surprising that several national feast days have been dedicated to this beverage. What are the most famous?
What do the Irish say when asked about their biggest celebration? Definitely “Lá 'le Pádraig!” Don’t recognise the name? But you will have heard of Saint Patrick's Day. Celebrated in Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and North America, with people taking to the streets on the 17th March each year to rejoice, dance and, above all, drink fine beer. What are they actually celebrating? According to one legend, St Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland; another says he drove all the snakes from the country. Whatever the real origin may be, there are now lavish parades, theatrical events and dances in his honour all over the world. Of course, the entertainment must be accompanied by beer, and you really must kit yourself out in the shamrock green – the colour that symbolises Ireland and Saint Patrick’s Day.
International Beer Day is a movable feast (like Thanksgiving, or Easter) that falls on the first Friday in August. It was first celebrated in the USA, before spreading across the entire globe. We should do three things on this day:
- celebrate the brewer’s art,
- invite our friends for a beer,
- support local breweries.
Prince Wenceslas plays an important role in Czech history and is regarded as the country’s patron saint. His statue is easy to recognise, St Wenceslas is typically depicted in armour carrying a sword and shield. His monument can be found on Wenceslas Square in Prague and his relics are held in Stará Boleslav, where he was assassinated on 28th September in the year 935. But did you know that he is also the patron saint of brewers and Czech beer? He was named the country’s patron saint by Charles IV in 1357. In his honour, we enjoy speciality beers from small and large breweries in the Czech pubs every year at the end of September.
Germans like extravagant celebrations, and if you enjoy beer too, you should head to Munich at the end of September and in early October for the Oktoberfest. The Oktoberfest usually lasts for sixteen days, starting on a Saturday and ending on the first Sunday in October. The origins of this festival date back to 1810 and the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The wedding celebrations proved so popular that they have been repeated and expanded, almost every year, ever since. Typically, six million people attend the Oktoberfest, during which 30% of the annual production of Bavarian breweries is consumed.
Did reading this article give you a thirst for a delicious pint of beer? Don't worry – you don't have to wait for the next beer festival. Beer can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Not only can you drink as much as you like at the Original Beer Spa Prague, you can even bathe in it.