Due to record daily numbers of new COVID-19 cases, the Czech government has extended the duration of the current restrictions until January 22. It is the same date when the state of emergency should supposedly end as well. Originally, the countermeasures should have been in place until January 10.
During the Christmas holidays, the Czech Republic returned to level 5 of the so-called PES system. Since level 5 is the highest level, the strictest countermeasures possible system are currently in effect. These restrictions apply mostly to stores, some services, freedom of movement, or studying, for example. They should supposedly remain in place until January 10 but there is a chance their validity will be further extended.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without carols. While many people prefer modern Christmas songs, it’s usually the traditional carols people prefer to sing. After all, they are usually much less difficult to sing as they – at least in most cases – don’t require large vocal range and good singing skills. Not everybody can, for example, manage to sing the main song from Tři oříšky pro Popelku. So it is no wonder that the carol Veselé vánoční hody is one of the most popular ones in the Czech Republic.
If someone told you that there is a famous poem about Christmas Eve you’d probably think that it must be some warm story about a beautiful snowy Christmas. If that’s the case then I have to disappoint you. The poem “Christmas Eve” (“Štědrý den” in Czech) was written by K. J. Erben, and it’s a dark tale about foretelling the future on Christmas eve. But don’t worry, the actual tradition is much less gloomy.
On Friday, December 18, the Czech Republic will once again return to level 4 of the PES system, which means that restrictions will be tightened. This was decided by the House of Commons on December 14; shortly after the restrictions were initially released. Despite that, stores will remain open. Some politicians and experts are worried that Czechs will actually have to spend this Christmas on level 5 of the PES system.
The Czech House of Commons approved another extension of the state of emergency – this time until December 23. Besides that, drinking outdoors is prohibited as the government wants to stop crowds of people consuming food and beverages from gathering at Christmas markets and on streets. This, however, doesn’t affect only stalls at the markets but also dispensing windows.
As some of you surely know, “Good King Wenceslas” is a popular British Victorian carol. Whether you have already known this fact or just now learnt about it, you are probably wondering what it has to do with Czech Christmas. Truth be told, this carol is not sung in the Czech Republic, yet there is a significant connection to the country’s history.
There are many beautiful Czech carols but only very few of them have such an interesting story behind them as the carol Narodil se Kristus Pán. To be honest, it is usually because most of them are folk carols which means that their (hi)story is difficult to trace. Narodil se Kristus Pán is, however, an exception to this rule. There are actually some facts about this particular song that even Czechs are often completely unaware of.
The Czech Republic will not raise its PES score despite the number of new COVID-19 cases slowly growing again, which would lead to the reintroduction of some countermeasures. The only changes that the Czech Republic will see as a result of the epidemiological situation getting worse, are the restrictions on opening hours of restaurants as well as some other minor measures.