Poland has been holding a national day of mourning for the 12 Polish miners who died in a methane explosion at a mine in the Czech town of Karviná in the Moravian Silesian Region on Thursday. One other person, a Czech, died in the blast and subsequent fire.
The operators say that values recorded on Sunday suggested that the fire in the ČSM mine had burned itself out.
Four of the bodies of the 13 victims have been recovered so far. The location of another one is known but the other eight have yet to be located.
Public transport in the Czech Republic will be greatly reduced during the Christmas holiday. The vast majority of trains will not be running on Monday’s Christmas Eve, when Czechs celebrate Christmas, or on Tuesday morning.
Urban transport services will for the most part follow limited “night” schedules from Monday afternoon until Tuesday late morning.
A similar regime will be in place on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. However, regular services will be in place on the working days between the two holidays.
Hundreds of people took part in a performance of Jakub Jan Ryba’s Czech Christmas Mass at Prague’s Main Train Station on Sunday afternoon. It was the eighth time the event, in which professional musicians and singers are joined by amateur enthusiasts, took place inside the country’s busiest railway station.
A similar public rendition of the well-known music, which is popularly known as “Rybovka”, was planned for the capital’s Kampa district later in the afternoon.
Ninety percent of Czechs regard the Christmas tree as the most important symbol of the festive season, suggests a survey conducted for Czech Radio by the Median agency. Other symbols of Christmas for Czechs – named by 70 percent or more of respondents – are Ježíšek (Baby Jesus, the traditional bearer of gifts), carols, gifts and fried carp (the main element is the traditional Christmas dinner), the poll indicates.
Some 60 percent of Czechs perceive a link between Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ, the survey suggests, while 40 percent connect it with church services.
Analyst Martin Kratochvíl said male respondents were more likely to refer to negative aspects of Christmas, such as stress and overcrowded shops.
The Czech Republic may follow Austria’s lead in pushing for an end to daylight saving time in Europe being delayed until April 2021. Czech senators have been discussing a European Union directive under which the change would come in at the start of April next year.
Jan Kněžínek, a member of the ANO senators group, told the Czech News Agency that the Czech Republic was likely to follow the lead of Austria, which currently holds the presidency of the EU.
Czech senators say ending daylight saving time in 2019 is unrealistic in view of the impact it will have on national regulations and argue for coordinating Prague’s approach with those of neighbouring states.
However, the Czech government has said it wants to maintain winter time all year round but Germany is in favour of summer time.
A reenactment of the return of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk from exile to Prague in 1918 culminated with the arrival of a historical train at the city’s Main Train Station. The train set off from Horní Dvořiště near the German border in South Bohemia and arrived in the capital on Saturday.
Participants dressed in period legionnaires uniforms welcomed the actor, Otakar Brousek, playing the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia at the event, which was attended by hundreds of people.
It was followed by a reenactment in front of the station of the speech Masaryk delivered on his arrival a century earlier and a theatre performance by the statue of St. Wenceslas on Wenceslas Square.
Christmas Eve on Monday should be partly bright with the chance of rain or snow in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 4 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are expected to reach 2 or 3 degrees Celsius over the remaining two days of the seasonal holiday.