May 1st - The Czech Valentine's Day

Celebrate the day of love and welcome spring

„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.

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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