Valentine’s Day gaining on Mother’s Day as most celebrated Czech 'love' holiday

The most popular holidays associated with love in the Czech Republic say something about society.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 14.02.2022 14:58:00 (updated on 14.02.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

What can be said about the current state of love and relationships in the Czech Republic? Fresh data has emerged just in time for Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, suggesting that while romantic love – represented by the increasing popularity of this hearts-and-flowers holiday – may be on the upswing, long haul, committed relationships are facing decline.

The Anglo-Saxon Valentine’s Day may not have a long history in the Czech Republic or Slavic culture. But a recent survey commissioned by Provident Financial found that 43 percent of Czechs between 18 and 65 years old celebrate the holiday.

Among Czechs between 18 and 35 years old, Valentine's Day is the most popular of all holidays associated with love, though no exact figure was given. This generation celebrates the majority of the love-related holidays, with only one in 10 saying that they do not celebrate any of them.

Valentine's Day in Czechia: The feast day of St. Valentine, a Christian martyr, began to be associated with love between the 14th and 15th centuries. Giving gifts and cards began in the 18th century in England. There are conflicting legends about who the original Valentine was, though one holds that he performed illegal weddings. A shoulder bone attributed to St. Valentine can be seen in a gold-and-glass case in the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Vyšehrad in Prague 2.

While Valentine’s Day is still only celebrated by a minority, Provident spokeswoman Kateřina Jarošová said the result was higher than expected.

“We were very surprised by the popularity of Valentine's Day across all generations. We did not expect that this holiday has become so accepted in our country and some generations will celebrate it more than Mother's Day,” Jarošová said.

Another pattern to emerge from the data found that Czechs don't overdo it with Valentine's Day gifts. Of those who celebrate, 38 percent do not give any gifts, while 34 percent give their partner a gift of up to CZK 500. Just 18 percent of partners spend between CZK 500 and CZK 1,000 and only a small fraction of the population will reach deeper into their pockets.

The same survey found that the vast majority of Czech men, some 78 percent, give a flower to their partner at least once a year, though this varies by Czech region. In South Bohemia, 85 percent of women get flowers and in the Ústí nad Labem region it is 83 percent. The least was in the Liberec region, at 72 percent.

“The finding that almost 80 percent of Czech men occasionally give their partners a flower is pleasant. However, the survey also showed that only 4 percent of women receive a bouquet each month,” Jarošová said.

Perhaps those flowery figures could have something to do with current findings that the number of married people in the Czech Republic is on the decline.

The most popular holidays associated with love in Czechia: Mother's Day, celebrated by 55 percent of Czech adults across all age groups. International Women's Day is celebrated by 47 percent, while May Day, the traditional Czech holiday of love is celebrated by only 27 percent of Czechs.

According to the results of last year's census, the number of marriages over the last 10 years decreased by about a tenth. In 2001, some 4.41 million people over the age of 15 were married compared to 400,000 fewer last year. 

In the Czech Republic, Feb. 14 coincides with the kick-off of Marriage Week, a week-long series of lectures, exhibitions, Valentine's pilgrimages, courses for couples, and the renewal of marriage vows aimed at supporting the traditional union.

Organizers of the event (which first took place in Britain in 2016 and is endorsed by Czech family-values political party the Christian-Democrats) say traditional marriage is "by far the most supported form of cohabitation."

They also say that many relationships end due to exaggerated expectations and a reluctance to forgive and admit one's own shortcomings. "In every long-term relationship, there are things that we lose, but we gain or discover a lot," said Marriage Week coordinator Petr Adam.

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day in the Czech Republic?

Yes 56 %
No 44 %
27 readers voted on this poll. Voting is open
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