A long time ago, there were regular public religious events in Prague, but the few that reached the 20th century ended in the communist era.
Every year on the evening of May 15, Prague hosts a traditional baroque water festival. For more than three hundred years, Prague and international visitors have celebrated and commemorated St. John on this day.
Between Charles Bridge, from which Prague’s beloved patron saint was once thrown, and Manes Bridge you can admire lovingly decorated gondolas, authentic dragon boats and colorful ships.
The tradition of the Baroque feast was renewed in 2009. Linked to the original baroque tradition, contemporary celebrations include a ceremonial holy mass in St. Vitus cathedral, a procession, a baroque water concert with fireworks on the Vltava river, close to the Charles bridge.
Every year there are numerous special events, such as a folklore festival, a regatta of historical and dragon boats, markets, lectures and exhibitions.
Venetian gondoliers regularly take part in the event and amaze visitors with their captivating songs. Later in the evening, there will be a beautiful firework display over the Vltava accompanied by fountains and light effects.
The program of Baroque festivities on the Vltava River:
- The Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert
- The procession from the cathedral through the Charles Bridge to Krizovnice square
- Baroque concert on the Vltava river and fireworks
- Find more information at www.navalis.cz
Saint John of Nepomuk is the patron of bridges, communications, good reputation and all people of the water.
According to his legend, in 1393 he was drowned in the Vltava under the orders of King Wenceslas IV for protecting the secrets of the Queen’s confession, although the dispute may also have involved who has the right to appoint bishops.
He is one of the most popular Czech saints, although he was not canonized until 1729, more than 300 years after his death.