Czechs do not “celebrate” their Independence Day. Only politicians lay flowers and give speeches

In History, Politics on October 28, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , ,

October 28 is the “Independence Day” for the Czech Republic. In 1918 the former Czechoslovak Republic was founded as one of the successor countries of Austria-Hungary. It is a national holiday. Schools, offices, banks and similar institutions are closed. On the other hand, malls, movie theaters, pools etc. are open to accommodate people who want to enjoy their day off…

It should be noted that official ceremonial events take place. Politicians lay flowers to statues of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the country’s first president. And they meet with several “guests of honor” who give ceremonial philosophical speeches that no ordinary Czech can understand…

In other words, Czechs do not celebrate their independence.

According to Wikipedia, here is what Americans do on the Fourth of July:

Families often celebrate Independence Day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue and take advantage of the day off and, in some years, long weekend to gather with relatives. Decorations (e.g., streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades often are in the morning, while fireworks displays occur in the evening at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares. (…) Numerous MLB games are played, too.

In the Czech Republic, people simply take advantage of the fact that they can have a day off. They go for a walk with their kids who have Fall Holiday, by the way (Wednesday to Sunday). Today I saw hundreds of people on bike trips, roller-skating, shopping…

There are of course numerous reasons why Czechs are not patriots in the “American sense”, one of them being the continuity of the republic: there was WW II, communism, the 1993 dissolution, dissatisfaction with politics, etc…


One Response to “Czechs do not “celebrate” their Independence Day. Only politicians lay flowers and give speeches”

  1. I’m pretty confused with this “Independence day”, as it commemorates the independence of a state that vanished 70 years ago.

    What’s more: during my lifetime, in only 25 years, the country I live in changed its name 3 times (!) and now it has completly different ideology, allies, enemies and borders than 20 years ago.

    It’s pretty hard for me to identify with the state itself. I even don’t get the “basic idea” of the independent Czech republic. Americans with their anti-british “enjoyment of life and liberty” etc. have it so simple!

    I am a patriot because I love my language, the nature an culture I have grown up in etc., but I can’t say I love my country as a political entity. I think many people feel the same.

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