Tomorrow is the first day of May, and there are multiple reasons why this day is a holiday. Since 1890, the Labour Day (or in another name International Workers' Day) is a worldwide holiday celebrating achievements of workers. In most countries, it is celebrated on 1st May, although in some other countries like for example the USA or Canada it is on a different day.
But the main reason why we publish this blog article about this day is the other celebration. 1st May, the national day of love, is the main symbolic day celebrating love in Czechia, (instead of Valentine's day).
There are diverse traditions connected to 1st May:
Erection of a maypole
Annually on this day, a tall tree gets chopped, and bark and branches are removed. Only the top ones are left and decorated with colourful ribbons. These maypoles are then placed in the middle of a village. It is symbolic in several ways. First of all, maypoles are a symbol of growth and fertility. Coloured ribbons symbolize joys of life. It is also a reminder that the "bad" part of a year (winter, cold, darkness) is now totally over and the better part is ahead.
Once the maypole is erected, locals wearing traditional folk costumes dance around and sing. The first mention of maypoles in Czech lands comes from the 15th century. Nowadays, this tradition is kept mainly in villages, although you can find them in some cities as well (or for example in the area of JAK dormitories).
Since the 15th century, May is also connected with students' celebrations and even at those times, student recession, often provocative, was tolerated on 1st May. It is also linked with the election of king and queen of students in each of the cities where this tradition is celebrated. Usually, there are many concerts, but unfortunately, this year this is not possible.
Kissing under a blooming tree and flower wreaths
It is a tradition that people kiss under a blooming tree, usually a cherry tree, for their love to prosper. In Czechia, love is also connected with the poem "Máj" by a Czech poet Karel Hynek Mácha. For that reason, many people in Prague visit his statue on Petřín hill and kiss there.
Since May also means that spring is in its highest strength, flowers are its symbol. And therefore, you can see many people, especially women and girls, to decorate their hair with hand-made flower wreaths made of meadow or park flowers.
We strongly hope May will be the month of being "reborn" for all of us, the month when it all gets better. Enjoy.