1s of May - Czech Valentine's day

30. 4. 2021
Did you know we have our own Valentine's day in CZ?
Most of you probably know the 1st of May as a Labour day. In the Czech republic we do celebrate the 1st of May as love day. Lovers are supposed to gather under a blossom tree (cherry tree or a birch) and kiss. If a girl is not kissed, it is said that she will wither and die in twelve months! But if she is, then she will be beautiful all year round. There was a very famous Czech poet, called poet of love, Karel Hynek Mácha. He wrote a poem called “Máj” (Eng. May). The poem is a tribute to the beauty of spring and narrates tragic love story of a bandit Vilém and Jarmila, the girl he loves. There is also another tradition involving single men connected to this topic. The night before May 1st, so today, single men go to the woods to cut a tree. They remove the branch and decore the trunk with different things such as scarves, ribbons, and flowers. Then the maypole is erected in the village square and guard it during the night because men from the surrounding villages intend to steal it. If the maypole is not stolen, single men are allowed to go to single women’s houses and give them little presents. On the evening, they all celebrate May at the ball. Here you can read the beginning of the famous poem translated in English (we had to learn the poem by heart as pupils at school): Late evening, on the first of May— The twilit May—the time of love. Meltingly called the turtle-dove, Where rich and sweet pinewoods lay. Whispered of love the mosses frail, The flowering tree as sweetly lied, The rose’s fragrant sigh replied To love-songs of the nightingale.

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