October 28 Celebrations Cancelled due to COVID-19

Change of guard at the Prague Castle

“Based on the recommendation of the Minister of Health Roman Prymula, President Zeman decided that gala-ceremony at which he awards high state distinctions for outstanding achievements, professional excellence, and exemplary personal qualities, will be postponed and take place on October 28 next year,” said Prague Castle chancellor Vratislav Mynář.

The list of the awards will appear on the Prague Castle website on October 28 at 8 p.m.

“October 28 will be symbolically commemorated by a ceremonial change of castle guards, which will take place at noon, followed by the anthem of the Czech Republic,” added Mynář. “In the evening, the first courtyard of Prague Castle will be ceremoniously lit in the colors of the Czech flag”.

History – what you need to know

To understand the origin and importance of 28 October, we need to go back to the end of WWI. During the year of 1918, the guarantee was gained that the Triple Entente countries would accept future Czechoslovakia as a sovereign state.

This unique position among the former Austria-Hungary states made the official creation of Czechoslovakia a swift process from thereon, and on 28 October it was agreed in Geneva that a new republic with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as president has just emerged.

As soon as the news got to Prague, the public was ecstatic, the documents were signed and the official proclamation was made that the Czech and Slovak nations finally had their proper state.

The national holiday of the Creation of Czechoslovakia was cancelled by the Nazi regime when the occupation period started in 1939, which stirred passionate protests in Prague. As is usually the case, many of the protestings were students, and one of them was none other than Jan Opletal. Opletal was wounded during the protests and died some days later.

This sparked more anti-occupation protests that culminated on 17 November 1939. However, more on that date in one of the next chapters.

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