One city, three traditions: Prague honors the dead with diversity this week

Whether you observe one or all, here's an overview of events slated for this week as Prague gets ready to embrace death with a vibrant show of life. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 29.10.2023 08:21:00 (updated on 30.10.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

In cultures throughout the world, the end of October and the beginning of November is a significant time for honoring those who have come before. In many countries such festivals and rituals coincide with autumn or harvest time.

In the increasingly diverse Czech capital, several cultural traditions can be experienced in one city during the spooky season. The Czech dušičky tradition, known in English as All Souls’ Day, sees families leave candles and elaborate floral displays on the graves of loved ones.

Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is observed with parades and altars to the dead, and is a celebration not just for those with Mexican heritage. Halloween, historically held on the eve of All Souls' Day to celebrate saints, martyrs, and the faithful departed now brings out costumed candy-seekers of all cultural backgrounds.

Whether you observe one tradition or all three, here's an overview of events slated for this week as Prague gets ready to embrace death with a vibrant show of life.

Dušičky, or All Souls' Day

Czech dušičky, or All Souls' Day, takes place annually on Nov. 2. Families gather at cemeteries to honor loved ones by cleaning and decorating graves. This tradition is marked by a mix of reverence and vibrant displays, with candles, flowers, and toys adorning children's graves. Recently, some have incorporated elements of Halloween, such as jack-o-lanterns and orange flowers.

The word "dušičky" originates from "duše," meaning soul. While rooted in Roman Catholicism, the day is recognized by various Christian denominations in the Czech Republic. In summary, All Souls' Day in the Czech Republic combines remembrance and lively tributes to the departed. Annually, the city's cemetery service extends the opening hours of its cemeteries before All Saints' Day from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For those who'd like to experience a haunted house, Czech style, the Prague 8 district hosts its annual Dušičky Evening at Libeň chateau on Saturday, Nov. 4. Tours of the chateau are given by famed spirits of Czech tradition such as the White Lady, with creative workshops for kids in the castle courtyard.

Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos)

Every year multiple events across Prague mark this Latin-American tradition with food, drink, and dance. On Sunday, Oct. 29, Prague's Náprstek Museum offers authentic Mexican food and drinks, live music, a market in the courtyard, dance, and art, as well as workshops and face painting for kids and adults. On the same day, in its secret garden, Dorado Coffee has cooking and crafting workshops for adults. The event has been hosted by the Mexican community in Czechia and the Mexican embassy since 2002.

On Nov. 2 the second year of the musical program celebrating the Day of the Dead pops up in the Día de los Muertos market in Holešovice, with performances by United Flavor, Mariachi Azteca di Praga, Lozt Mezcal and DJ, as well as Mexican cocktails and food trucks with tacos, churros, and more. Access to the gastro zone and the children's program in Hall 13 is free.

Other events include Manifesto Market's Día de los Muertos celebrations with ofrenda, mariachi, and mouthwatering Mexican dishes from Alebrijes Cocina Mexicana on Nov. 1. On Nov. 2 Monkey Bar celebrates the occasion with cilantro margaritas, Mexican tapas, and DJ talents.


Despite recent reports of a Czech priest smashing pumpkins in protest of pagan Halloween, trick-or-treaters will still be heading out this Tuesday, Oct. 31. In the American enclave of the Nebušice neighborhood residents decorate their homes and welcome trick-or-treaters from across the Prague.

In Vinohrady, the seventh annual Prague Halloween Trick-or-Treat for Charity has a charitable bent: kids visit participating businesses and homes not only to collect candy but to donate money to help abandoned, neglected, or endangered children in the Czech Republic. This event supports SOS Children's Villages International, providing homes and essential services to children in need. You can still register to participate, and online contributions are welcome until Nov. 5.

The event perfectly illustrates the ways in which celebrations like this are bridging culture gaps between Czechs and expats: In an interview last year, event organizer Dinah Richter-Spritzer told

“People kept telling me Czechs hated Halloween because it was this invasive colonial holiday, you know, imperialism. As soon as I partnered with a Czech charity, the Czechs I met thought this whole thing thought it was brilliant. It proved to me once again that...Czechs are some of the most generous people on the planet."

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