End of Zeman presidency ceremonially marked with burning and drowning of effigy

Photo: Vít Šimánek, ČTK

Outgoing president Miloš Zeman ended his term in office at midnight on Wednesday, with the symbolic lowering of the presidential flag and the closing of Prague Castle’s Gate of the Giants. But that wasn’t enough for some Zeman critics – they wanted a proper ceremony to mark the end of the former president’s time as head of state.

Riffing on the ancient Slavic tradition of marking the passing of winter and welcoming in the spring with a ritual known as “Vynášení Morany“ – burning and drowning an effigy of Morana, the pagan goddess of winter and death – a group of around hundred people started gathering in Hradčany Square in front of Prague Castle on Wednesday evening from about 5.30pm. Except instead of an effigy of Morana made out of wood and straw, they had a giant sculpture of Zeman’s head in tow.

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Author: Anna Fodor