May 1st - The Czech Valentine's Day

Celebrate the day of love and welcome spring with movies, wine and food.

„Večerní máj byl lásky čas“ or May twilight the time of love is the motto for May 1st, the day of love. Czechs couples celebrate the day by going out into the nature and kissing under a blooming cherry tree or birch. They also visit the statue of Karel Hynek Mácha who is known as the poet of love.

Mácha is the author of the poem May, the tragic love story that became a masterpiece of Czech literature. He died in 1836 shorty after publishing the poem. Picnicking near his statue on Petřín hill is one of the most popular activities on May 1st. Couples also bring flowers to lay at Mácha's statue to remember him and commemorate love.

Villagers organize balls and erect maypoles. Traditionally single men and boys cut down a tall tree in the woods and remove the branches. They decorate the trunk with colorful ribbons, flowers and a wreath. During the night the men keep watch over their maypole while some go to different villages to steal as many maypoles from neighboring villages as possible.

The villagers who manage to protect their maypole can visit unmarried girls who will give them presents. That evening, a ball is held to celebrate the beginning of May. According to legend, girls who are not kissed on this day will wither away and die within a year. In larger cities, the celebration is a little different.

Students living in Prague and other large cities organize Majáles, a celebration of student life. Since the 19th century Majáles has honored love, student life and spring. The event consists of student parades, a music festival and competitions where students get to show off their skills. One of the highlights of Majáles is the voting and crowning of the King and Miss. The most famous King in the history of the event was a famous poet, Allen Ginsberg.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Prague on May 1st whether you have a significant other or just want to have some fun solo or with friends. Cinema City for example is organizing a sale on tickets this Sunday. Regular movie tickets will cost 50 CZK and IMAX will only cost 10 CZK more. Another great option for a day indoors in case of bad weather is a stroll in the Botanical Garden at Albertov.

Another great event to welcome spring is the annual pink wine festival. The festival will take place at Villa Richter Restaurants and the Svatováclavská Vinice by the old Castle stairs. Wine drinking will be in full swing between 10:00 and 18:00. There will be 100 types of wines to taste from 25 Moravian and Czech wineries.

Wine can build up quite the appetite and you can grab a bite at the Veggie Market at Náplavka. From 10:00 to 21:00 you can enjoy a selection of vegetarian meals and learn about having a healthy lifestyle. The program is full of children's activities and vegan delights. For meat eaters there is a BBQ event at Vozovna Motol that starts at 14:00 where you can enjoy music and sports.

The day of love has something to offer everyone. Celebrating the arrival of spring is a great occasion to spend time with your loved ones. Don't be discouraged by potentially bad weather – according to many superstitions rain is a sign of good fortune.

Saying “I love you” in Czech - Prague.TV, Living Like a Local!

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