Czech scouts to receive Peace Light of Bethlehem from Austria today

A flame lit from the eternal fire in Bethlehem will be transported to Brno on Saturday as the annual Christmas tradition returns to the Czech Republic. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 09.12.2023 09:59:00 (updated on 11.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Scouts in the Czech Republic will receive the Peace Light of Bethlehem, a symbolic flame representing peace, love, hope, and friendship, from their counterparts in Austria this evening. Czech scouts began the tradition of taking over this light from Austria in 1990, marking a tradition that continues to spread pre-Christmas peace.

The Peace Light of Bethlehem, first conceived in 1986 in Austria, has become a modern symbol of Christmas throughout many European countries. Originating from Bethlehem, the flame has been carried by Austrian scouts to various parts of the world for decades.

The tradition took flight in 1986, with the flame traveling by plane to Linz, where it became part of a Christmas fundraiser to aid disabled children. Since then, Austrian scouts have collected the flame every year from the eternal flame at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which stands at the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

"Due to the situation in the Middle East, the delegation from Austria did not fly to Israel this time, but the light from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was lit by a local girl, Pillar Jarayseh," Czech scouts write on social media.

"It was then brought to Amman, from where it traveled by air to Austria. There it was taken over by Michael Putz - this year's Child of Light. The ten-year-old student was chosen by the organizers because he is an enthusiastic scout and a volunteer firefighter." 

From Austria, the flame will be distributed across Europe throughout December. Today, the Bethlehem Light will be transported from Vienna to Brno via the 372 Vindobona train, scheduled to arrive at 8:36 p.m. On Sunday, the flame will be presented in Brno's Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul.

Next weekend, Czech scouts will distribute the flame across the Czech Republic, delivering the Peace Light of Bethlehem through selected express and passenger trains. Local scouts and volunteers will take over the flame at various stations, ensuring its spread throughout the country.

If you'd like to collect the Peace Light of Bethlehem yourself next weekend, a list of locations the scouts will stop at can be found at the official website. In Prague, the light will arrive at Hlavní nádraží at around 10:00 a.m. on December 16, and subsequently transported across the city by tram.

The Peace Light of Bethlehem symbolizes not only the anticipation of Christmas but also the spirit of unity and goodwill among scouts and communities across Europe. Over the past three decades, it has become an increasingly popular tradition in the Czech Republic, culminating in a feature film starring Zdeněk Svěrák released last year.

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