Jak na Nový rok, tak po celý rok
How your New Year’s Day is, so will be your entire year.
New Year’s Eve in the Czech Republic is called Silvestr, commemorating the anniversary of Pope Sylvester I, an influential saint who served as Pope of the Western Church during the 4th century. Historically it was a Christian holiday, celebrations of the new year were forbidden until Tři králové (Three Kings Day) on the twelfth day of Christmas. The New Year’s Eve extravagant parties did not begin until after WWII.
Czechs believe the last day of the year has magical power and that the dreams you have on NYE will become reality in the next year. They also believe that how you spend your New Year’s Day is how you will spend the rest of the year, so Czechs make sure to spend the entire day relaxing and avoiding any kind of work whatsoever.
Czechs celebrate the new year in Prague either with an immense amount of fireworks and alcohol or by avoiding the chaos altogether and getting out of town. Many Czechs escape to the mountains (hory) to go hiking or skiing or relax at a spa resort. Špindlerův Mlýn in Krkonoše is one of the most visited Czech ski resorts while Lipno in Šumava is perfect for families with young kids. Other popular mountain destinations include Jizerské, Orlické and Krušné hory. Small villages all over the country will always have some sort of New Year’s festivities going on as well, in the town squares and the local breweries.
If you stay in the city, be prepared for an insane amount of large fireworks being fired off from all parts of the city since the laws here are almost non-existent. The craziness is worth it though – the natural beauty of the city is a breathtaking backdrop and it’s bound to be a fun, celebratory night. The city’s official fireworks show is January 1st at 6PM from Letná. You can find the perfect view walking along the river or from Petřín hill. You can also brave the bigger crowds and watch from the historical Charles Bridge, Old Town Square or Wenceslas Square – either way it will be a spectacular sight.
The drink of the new year is Bohemia Sekt, a Czech šampaňské (champagne) with over 40 years of traditions. The company dates back to 1945 when the first batch was drank by US Troops celebrating the liberation of Starý Plzenec – they supposedly consumed over 37,000 bottles. On New Year’s Day, Czechs eat čočka na kyselo (lentil soup) which is said to bring prosperity and good fortune in the new year.
You can celebrate New Year’s early on December 29, appreciating the beauty of the Vltava with a glass of wine and delicious mushrooms and oysters at Náplavka Farmers’ Market. If you’re planning on spending NYE at home, you can get all the food you need for the perfect dinner at Heřmaňák Farmers’ Market, where some of the best locally-grown fresh produce and Czech products are sold.
Prague’s best restaurants celebrate the new year in style with specially crafted NYE menus and of course, lots of champagne. For a relaxing evening away from the craziness of the center enjoy a delicious 10 course meal at Nebu. Drink champagne, cozy up by the fireplaces and enjoy the meal made by accomplished international chefs in their charcoal tandoor oven – plus fireworks afterwards!
For a gourmet meal with a beautiful atmosphere check out Piknik Park, located on the magical Kampa Island, or Marina Ristorante, floating right on the Vltava with stunning views of the Prague Castle and fireworks. Marina will serve some of the best Italian in Prague, while Piknik Park’s dishes range from veal roast and grilled calamari to saffron risotto with zucchini and parmesan.
For dinner with a party Avenue and Buddha Bar can’t be beat. At Avenue, you can enjoy a gourmet 5 course menu accompanied by live jazz, a DJ and other entertainment. Appetizers range from crab cutlet to salmon tartar, with main dish options of stewed veal tenderloin with coffee and cranberry sauce or Arizona trout with grilled vegetables.
Buddha Bar’s delicious dinner is accompanied by a violinist, a special Burlesque show and an all-night DJ. Appetizers range from duck foie gras with cherry chutney and brioche to beef tataki with parmesan and teriyaki, with main dishes including grilled lobster with yuzu bisque and Atlantic black cod with truffle-miso sauce.
For those who wish to welcome in the new year with music and a party, Prague’s countless clubs will be hosting festivities all night long. Roxy’s New Year’s Eve will feature the club’s famed resident DJs, plus an extraordinary 3D video-mapping light show inside the specially decorated club. Guaranteed to be one of the biggest parties of the night, there will be champagne, dancing and beautiful lights at one of Prague’s most historical clubs.
Likewise, Epic is hosting a massive party featuring the club’s top resident DJs blasting music until the early morning hours, with no formal dress-code or gala dinner. If you don’t want to acknowledge that time has gone by, spend your night in the past at Cafe 80’s, La Loca or Lucerna, where 80’s and 90’s music blasts into the early morning. Glass Bar at the Dancing House offers a calmer setting for drinks and a spectacular view of the fireworks across the city.