May Holidays takes a look at the two holidays this month Staff Jason Pirodsky

Written by StaffJason Pirodsky Published on 16.04.2010 16:44:41 (updated on 16.04.2010) Reading time: 1 minute

May starts out well in the Czech Republic; thanks to two holidays in the first two weeks. While this year they both fall on Saturdays, typically they are used as a perfect excuse for a mini pre-summer escape. Smaller shops and those not located in the center will often be closed.

Saturday, 1 May is Labor Day (Svátek práce). This is celebrated as International Workers´ Day in many countries (though not the US or UK). Also known as May Day, May 1 is celebrated for different reasons throughout the world. Under Communism in Czechoslovakia, parades were held and smart people displayed the flag. Today, you´ll often see both pro and anti Communism rallies throughout the country on the first. Political parties also use the holiday to drum up support; and this being an election year; you can expect some highly-politicized talk. For a more loving way to celebrate; head up to Petřín hill. Lovers traditionally lay flowers at the statue of poet Karel Hynek Macha and steal a kiss under one of the numerous blossom-laden trees on its slopes, a tradition left over from a pagan fertility rite.

Liberation Day (Den osvobození) is Saturday, 8 May and marks the date of Czech liberation from Germany at the end of the Second World War. Germany signed the terms of surrender on May 8, 1945, and the German army in Prague surrendered on the morning of May 9. Wreaths are often laid at tombs of soldiers in the Olsany cemetery in Prague 3 and other monuments to the war scattered about town. Starting May 6 in Plzěn, events are usually held to commemorate the liberation of city by US troops.

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