Czechs don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, Halloween or Valentine’s Day

A Prague tram with two flags, celebrating a Czech public holiday © Ricky Yates

This is a post that I’ve been compiling in my mind for quite some time. So with Valentine’s Day being less than two weeks away, the time has come to commit it to writing and the public domain.

The genesis of this post was seeing more than one comment on social media in late November, of American friends of Americans newly arrived here in Prague, actually asking, ‘Do Czechs celebrate Thanksgiving?’ Another, asking an American teacher in an international school here, whether he had the day off for Thanksgiving.

I do appreciate that these comments and questions, came from some of the approximately 60% of Americans who do not hold a passport and have therefore never set foot outside their own country. I did enjoy the response . . . → Read More: Czechs don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, Halloween or Valentine’s Day

St. Cyril & St. Methodius & Jan Hus

Orthodox Cathedral in Prague dedicated to St. Cyril & St. Methodius © Ricky Yates

Three holy men from many centuries past, St. Cyril, St. Methodius and Jan Hus, are responsible for currently giving most Czech people a four-day long weekend. For yesterday, Thursday 5th July, is celebrated as Cyril and Methodius Day whilst today, Friday 6th July, marks the 597th anniversary of the burning at the stake in Konstanz, of the Father of the Czech Reformation, Jan Hus. And both days are kept as public holidays here in the Czech Republic.

I find it quite ironic that in this rather irreligious country, there are these two public holidays that celebrate the lives of three great Christians. However, the vast majority of Czech people just take advantage of having four days off work and head out to the Chata or Chalupa – the little (usually wooden) . . . → Read More: St. Cyril & St. Methodius & Jan Hus

The Velvet Revolution – 20 years on

Charcoal roasted ham being cooked on Old Town Square © Ricky Yates

Yesterday, Tuesday 17th November 2009, marked the twentieth anniversary of the start of the events that led to the ‘Sametová Revoluce’, the Velvet Revolution, which saw the demise of the Communist government that had ruled Czechoslovakia for previous forty one years. As I mentioned in my recent blog post about Holidays and Celebrations in the Czech Republic, 17th November is now kept as a public holiday entitled ‘Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day’.

Although not a Czech and having only lived here for 14 months, I was still interested to see how the momentous events of twenty years ago would be celebrated. So early yesterday afternoon, Sybille and I set out from our flat and travelled by bus and Metro to the centre of Prague, in order to soak up the atmosphere.

One thing . . . → Read More: The Velvet Revolution – 20 years on

Holidays and Celebrations in the Czech Republic – My contribution to Expat’s World Blog Surf Day

Knowing the dates of public holidays when you move to or visit a country of which you are not a native, is quite important as my wife and I found out only on Monday of this past week. We were returning from our trip to Turkey about which I’ve just started blogging, when we drove from Italy into Austria on the penultimate leg of our journey home to Prague. We were driving along the Austrian autobahn when my wife said, “Rather than stop at a service station for lunch, why don’t we drive into a nearby town and find a nice restaurant instead?”

So it was that we drove into Spittal an der Drau and parked in the centre of the town. It was only when the parking ticket machine refused to accept my euro coins I tried to feed it, did it begin to dawn on me that the . . . → Read More: Holidays and Celebrations in the Czech Republic – My contribution to Expat’s World Blog Surf Day