Prague City Hall: No fireworks or videomapping on New Year's Day

Due to the worsening pandemic situation, the city will not hold a big public celebration during the holiday season.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 30.11.2021 15:25 (updated on 30.11.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

There will be no public fireworks, drone show, or videomapping in Prague on New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, 2022. While most places have midnight shows on Dec. 31, Prague for many years has had shows in the early evening on Jan. 1, as that is also Czech Independence Day, marking the split from Slovakia in 1993.

Due to the deteriorating situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, the city has decided not to sponsor any public celebration, municipal spokesman Vít Hofman said.

The current city administration has already moved away from public fireworks for environmental reasons but had been looking into alternatives such as a videomapping or drone show for this year. A videomapping was held at the start of 2020, while Prague 2 hosted a fireworks show without the city’s support. But there were no public shows at all at the start of 2021 due to the pandemic.

Fireworks on Jan. 1, 2019, in Prague. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Fireworks on Jan. 1, 2019, in Prague. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

“We did not plan any fireworks this year either, but we were considering alternative ways to welcome the new year. We were waiting for the epidemic situation and anti-epidemic measures to develop. Given the current situation, we abandoned the planned activities,” Hofman said.

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“We would not be able to guarantee the safety of visitors with regard to the transmission of the disease at such an event, and it would be difficult to ensure the spectators’ social distancing,” Hofman added.

What should City Hall do to celebrate on Jan. 1, 2022?

Public fireworks 62 %
Videomapping 4 %
Drone show 4 %
Encourage people to stay home 30 %
148 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed
Fireworks in Prague 2 on January 1, 2020 / via Raymond Johnston
Fireworks in Prague 2 on Jan.1, 2020. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

In the past, the city traditionally welcomed the new year on Jan. 1 with fireworks, at first from barges in the Vltava, but the noise disturbed wildlife. Swans in particular would panic and injure themselves, sometimes fatally. The fireworks where then moved to Letná park, but residents complained that it disturbed pets. The explosions were also a source of air pollution.

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Fireworks on New Year's Eve.
Fireworks on New Year's Eve on Wenceslas Square, Dec. 31, 2019. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

The videomapping on Jan. 1, 2020, was poorly received. It consisted mainly of children's drawings projected onto the National Museum in Wenceslas Square. Prague 2 launched fireworks from the fortification walls above Folimanka park, despite objections from City Hall.

In December 2020, a new city decree also banned amateur fireworks in much of the city center, in parks, and near waterways, putting an end to big displays in Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square over the holidays. That ban is still in effect.

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