Welcoming the New Year and saying goodbye to the old one is a worldwide tradition. While some aspects of it are similar across cultures, there are certain specifics when it comes to the Czech people celebrating New Year’s Eve.
✅ Let’s dive into the essence of Silvestr, the last day of the year in the Czech Republic. At the end of this article, a few Czech fancy superstitions are added!
New Year’s Eve Party
When it comes to the night itself, Czech people fall into two categories:
Those who enjoy wildly celebrating in a club or pub with a group of friends (and quite possibly even the strangers who they meet for the first time) and the ones who celebrate from the comfort of their own homes.
It is no surprise that it is mostly the younger generation who embrace going out and enjoying a proper celebration while their parents usually prefer to stay at home, watching New Year’s Eve specials on TV.
➤ New Year´s Eve is called Silvestr in Czech.
New Year’s Eve Refreshments
Preparations for New Year’s Eve mostly include getting the food and refreshments ready.
Since by the 31st December people have been eating mostly Christmas cookies and sweets for a week, most Czechs prefer to nibble on something savory.
Jednohubky is pieces of savory rolls with toppings - spreads, salami, even pieces of fruit if you’re feeling fancy.
The other favorite option for Silevestr party food is obložené chlebíčky. These open-faced sandwiches are topped with mayonnaise-based salads, ham, boiled egg, or decorative vegetable pieces.
⇢ Look for more Czech New Year’s Eve recipes
New Year’s Toast
After the clock strikes midnight, people join each other in a toast (novoroční přípitek).
The toast is mostly done with alcoholic beverages such as sparkling wine or champagne. Popular sparkling wine in the Czech Republic is Bohemia Sekt, called "Bohemka".
Czechs clink their glasses and wish each other a Happy New Year filled with luck, health, and overall success and prosperity.
➤ How to say Happy New Year in the Czech language? Here is your answer: Šťastný Nový rok! [ʃcastniː noviː rok]
It is also typical to kiss at midnight, but be careful - not everyone might appreciate that, especially when you are not well acquainted with them.
Something that probably won’t surprise you is the popularity of midnight fireworks (ohňostroj).
In the Czech Republic, people like to enjoy both the official ones - usually organized by a town or a city - and also their own private smaller ones.
It is possible to buy fireworks, firecrackers, and other kinds of pyrotechnics for at least a month before New Year’s Eve. They are available at both specialized stands at shopping centers and regular supermarkets.
Read also: Czech Christmas Folk Traditions
New Year’s Resolutions
Many of us see the beginning of a new year as a chance to start our life - or at least some aspects of it - again.
Czechs often wish to get rid of bad habits, get healthier, pick up routines that they believe will make them more successful and happier in the next year.
Probably the most typical New Year’s resolution for Czech people is to get more healthy, start working out or at least eat better.
Needless to say, it has basically become a joke - the first week of January, gyms are bursting at the seams and then slowly start to get emptier and emptier.
New Year’s Eve and Day Superstitions
There are certain superstitions connected to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in the Czech Republic.
Here are some of them to enjoy:
- There must not be any clothes hanging on a clothesline during the last night of the year, otherwise a member of the family will die next year.
- "Jak na Nový rok, tak po celý rok": People are careful about the way they treat each other on New Year’s Day since they tend to believe that the way New Year’s Day is will determine the rest of the year.
- When it comes to prosperity, people believe that eating lentils will bring them fortune and financial stability. Most usually Czechs eat lentil soup (čočková polévka) or čočka na kyselo for New Year’s Day’s lunch.
- Similarly, it is not recommended to eat poultry on New Year’s Day - your luck might fly away from you!
Overall, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Czechia are quite similar to the usual western traditions, while still maintaining some typically Czech habits and traditions.