Valentine’s Day versus May 1

St Valentine's heart figure Valentine’s Day, which is being celebrated worldwide on February 14, is the traditional day on which lovers express their tender feelings for each other. Around this day you can see all shop windows in Prague being decorated by great deal of red hearts. They are everywhere reminding that you should not leave your loved one without a present.

This celebration of Valentine’s Day, however, doesn’t have a long tradition in the Czech Republic. It appeared shortly after the Velvet Revolution, so it is known here just a bit over 10 years. Valentine’s Day, nevertheless, quickly became popular, especially among teenagers, and is now celebrated in the same manner as in the USA or Great Britain.

However, there is another day in the Czech Republic that is dedicated to lovers. It is, maybe surprisingly, May 1st. May 1st in the Czech Republic is not only a Labor Day, which is celebrated around the world in commemoration of historic achievements of the Labor movement. For Czechs, it is at the same time the true and only Love Day, and not the Valentine’s Day.

How come that May Day is the Love Day for Czechs? May Day has been for many centuries a symbol of spring and love, as it is most famously marked in Czech romantic poem Maj (May in English), written by Karel Hynek Macha (1810-1836). Couples come to the statue of Karel Hynek Macha and kiss under the blooming tree to ensure that their love will be as fresh as the blooming tree for another year.

I prefer to celebrate May 1st as a Love Day since it is not as commercialized.

Statue of Karel Hynek Macha is on Petrin Hill so don’t forget to visit it on May 1st. But if you want to visit Karel Hynek Macha right away, he is buried at the Vysehrad cemetery in Prague.

Feb 14, 13:56 (Filed under: Culture )

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