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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

April 30th = Witch Burning

Prague Witch BurningThe Czech tradition of witch burning is taking place tonight. The day commemorates the change of spring, but so much more:

On the evening of April 30th, Czechs gather to build a bonfire and prepare an effigy of the witch that kept winter around so long. Czechs used to believe that the power of witches would weaken as the weather got warmer. So they thought that if they made something that looked like a witch and burned it, they could finally get rid of the cold weather.

Okay, so I’m not planning to go to a witch burning. Sounds a bit too much like an occasion that simply turns into a “drinking festival”, something we moderns didn’t invent, however have done well by dismantling the tradition. Of course, if I were living in a village, the significance would be heightened, and perhaps the event more profound.

At a village event, I could dress as a witch and cast spells on children, perhaps make them cry. There’s no better fun than that!

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