Witches Night in Prague returns: 10 best bets for bonfires in 2022

For the first time in three years, Čarodějnice celebrations, packed with food, family and fun, are taking place in and around the Czech capital.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 27.04.2022 18:00:00 (updated on 30.04.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

For the first time in three years, large public festivities will take place for Witches Night, traditionally on April 30. The holiday with pagan roots sees kids dress up in witch costumes and roast sausages while adults enjoy music and entertainment around the fire.

Due to the pandemic, celebrations were canceled in 2020 and 2021, while drought put a stop to bonfires in 2018. This year marks only the second celebration in the past five years.

In Czech the event is known as Čarodějnice, or sometimes Pálení čarodějnic (Burning of Witches) or Filipojakubská noc (Philip and Jacob’s Night). An effigy of a witch, typically a dressed-up wooden broom, is burned in a bonfire to mark the end of cold weather.

April 30, according to superstition, was when witches would gather on high mountains. Fires were built on hills so the smoke would drive them away. The event is not meant as a reference to actual witch trials or executions. The idea is to drive away the last of the fallow spirits of winter.

In Germany, the event is called Walpurgisnacht, the eve of the feast of St. Walpurga, who can be called on to fight infestations, rabies, and witches.

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Čarodějnice is sometimes confused with the drowning of the winter spirit Morana, another event with pagan roots. This event takes place two weeks before Easter or on March 20, depending on local traditions.

Where to celebrate Čarodějnice:

We've rounded up 10 places in Prague that will be hosting celebrations, though not all have bonfires. There's a bonus event out of town, with a bonfire at a castle ruin.

The biggest celebration in Prague will be at Ladronka in Prague 6, which will be burning an effigy of a witch in a huge bonfire at 7:30 pm. The festivities start at noon and include a costume competition for children, a “witches trail” with entertainment for children, live music, a DJ, and food stands. People can roast sausages on a stick after the bonfire settles down. Free admission. Read more on Facebook and the event website.

Witches Night bonfire at Ladronka. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Witches Night bonfire at Ladronka. Photo: Raymond Johnston.

A waterfront bonfire can be found at Žluté lázně in Prague 4–Podolí. Teen pop band Music Family kicks off the fun at 10 am and the fire will be lit at 6 pm. The afterparty runs to midnight. Admission is CZK 100, but free for children up to 15 years old in costume. Read more on Facebook and the event website.

The traditional gathering at Malá Strana tends to attract more adults in costumes and is a bit more pagan-oriented than other events. Festivities begin at Kampa park at 3 pm and there is a parade at 6 pm, from Malostranské náměstí to Kampa. The witch burning is around 7 pm. Read more on Facebook.

Three witches preparing for the parade at Malostranské náměstí in 2019. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Three witches preparing for the parade at Malostranské náměstí in 2019. Photo: Raymond Johnston

The party at Kasárna Karlín in Prague 8 has two parts. From 3 pm to 6 pm, there are workshops and competitions for children. Starting at 6:30 pm there is a DJ set by Voodoo Beats, followed by a concert by Genuine Jacks at 9 pm in the garages, plus there will be outdoor fires for roasting sausages. The outdoor children's part is free; the concert in the garages has an admission of CZK 150. Read more on Facebook and the event website.

The street food festival at Smíchovská Náplavka will also have face painting, workshops, and a carousel from 10 am to 8 pm, and live music from 6 pm. A fire show takes place at 9 pm. Admission is free. Read more on Facebook.  

The beach at Hostivařská přehrada (Hostivař Dam) has a party for children and adults, with games, music, and a bonfire. The fun starts at 3 pm; the time for lighting the fire isn't specified. Admission is CZK 150 (cash only), with children and the disabled free. Read more on Facebook and the event website.

The Prague 8 Fire Department (Hasiči Praha 8) will burn a witch in the field next to Slovan Bohnice. There will competitions for children and demonstrations of technical equipment. The event starts at 5:30 pm and the fire will take place at 7 pm. Admission is free. Read more on Facebook.  

The 31st Witches Night at Chvalský zámek focuses on children in the afternoon, from 2 pm onward, and then at 5 pm it becomes more interesting for adults with a live music lineup that includes Buty and the cover band Rockset, which plays Swedish pop. Admission is CZK 70, but children up to 120 cm are free. Read more on Facebook.  

The gathering at Chodovská tvrz in Prague 4–Chodov is aimed at children. It starts at 3 pm, with fires for sausages from 3:45 pm. The witch will be burned at 6 pm. Admission is free. Read more on Facebook.

The area in front of the Prague 17 Town Hall in Řepy from 4 pm will have music, contests, fires for sausages, and giant board games. After dark, there will be a fire show. Admission is free. Read more on Facebook.

Out of town: For people who fancy a day trip, there will be an afternoon bonfire at the ruins of Házmburk Castle in the Ústí nad Labem region. Nontraditional tours with special witch-oriented commentary (only in Czech) will be held from 4 pm to 6 pm. The nearby town of Libochovice will also have a more traditional celebration with music, a fire show, and sausages. Admission to Házmburk is CZK 130, or CZK 100 for children and seniors. Read more here and here.

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