You have already discovered two Czech spring traditions in our part one, but it’s definitely not everything the country’s traditions have to offer.
Easter and the Burning of the Witches might be two of the biggest spring holidays in the Czech Republic, but there’s much more to celebrate as winter says goodbye. With March’s snow melting and the days (probably) getting warmer, it’s time to step outside and enjoy the sunnier days and the first hints of green showing up around the city.
Here are two other big celebrations to discover this Spring.
The Day of Love
May 1st is officially Labor Day in the Czech Republic (as in many other countries) but many Czechs refer to this date as “love day.” Prague couples often head to Petřín Park to kiss under the flowering cherry trees and to visit the statue of Czech poet Karel Hynek Mácha. Mácha is famous for his tragic love poem “May,” whose first two verses read:
Late evening, on the first of May—
The twilit May—the time of love.
[You can read the entire poem here]
Older traditions for May 1st (which are still observed in many villages and are very popular in Scandinavian countries) date back many centuries. Pagans celebrated the arrival of Spring on this day with lots of festive dancing around a Maypole.
Exactly a week after Love Day, Czechs celebrate Den osvobození or Liberation Day – the end of WWII in Europe. Most shops, institutions and public offices are closed on this day and families head to the local parks for a picnic and some time in the sun.
While it’s too early to tell if the 2021 celebrations will happen, the place to be on this day is Plzeň. This small city about an hour away from Prague hosts the Liberation Festival, a massive four-day event with a huge parade of tanks, motorcycles and Army jeeps. Visiting Plzeň on this day is like walking into a movie set, with a mix of historical objects (including military weapons and equipment) on display, stands where veterans are happy to answer your questions, and plenty of people dressed in historical attire.