No big fireworks show in Prague for the New Year: City Hall opts for a videomapping instead
New Year's Day fireworks in Prague. via Raymond Johnston

No big fireworks show in Prague for the New Year: City Hall opts for a videomapping instead

Prague City Hall unanimously decided that the New Year’s Day celebrations on January 1, 2020 will be without traditional fireworks. There will be a videomapping instead.

While many people may miss the big show, the change comes as no surprise. The Pirate Party, which currently leads the city’s ruling coalition, announced even before the show at the start of 2019 that they were seeking alternatives. Lasers, drones and silent fireworks were among the options mentioned.

It was too late to change the 2019 fireworks show, as contracts has already been signed before the new administration came in. The normally spectacular end was toned down a bit, though.

Noise from the fireworks, which upsets both pets and wildlife, is the main issue.

national museum
Videomapping on the National Museum in October 2018. via Raymond Johnston

“It is a helpful step not only for all citizens of the metropolis who are sensitive to excessive noise, but also for animals that face unnecessary stress every year. I believe that everyone will enjoy the new form of New Year celebrations, and I am glad that we unanimously agreed on it,” Prague City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague) said.

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The City Council still did not decide on a place where the videomapping will be projected. The form and location of the video mapping will be the subject of a public tender. A videomapping is a precisely timed animated projection tailored to fit a specific space, usually the facade of a large building.

Official video of the 2010 videomapping at the Astronomical Clock.

The fireworks show had been one of the most popular events of the year. Recently, the fireworks have been launched from Letná park, and people have lined the waterfront from Karlín down to most Legií, as well as vantage points in Petřín, Strahov and other high spots.

Finding a videomapping site with such a large viewing area may prove difficult.

City Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha sobě), reponsible for culture, said the New Year’s Day videomapping should cost around 2 million CZK.

The last fireworks show cost 1.7 million CZK and lasted 11 minutes

Videomapping at náměstí Míru. via Raymond Johnston

Videomapping has been growing more popular. The 600th anniversary of the Astronomical Clock in 2010 introduced many Praguers to the concept. The Signal Festival, which began in 2013, usually features several videomappings, with the Church of St Ludmilla at náměstí Míru a constant venue.

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Other big videomappings included one for the reopening of the National Museum in October 2018, and just recently a clever one on the Žižkov Television Tower for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

January 1 is not just New Year’s Day, but it also marks the official split of Czechoslovakia in 1993, and is called Den obnovy samostatného českého státu, meaning Day of the Renewed Independent Czech State.

Raymond Johnston

Prague-based journalist with over three decades of media experience writing about culture, business, and travel. Folktale and legend expert, and avid photographer. Follow him on Instagram at @raymondjohnston4 or visit his blog

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