Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Labor Day vs A Day for Lovers

Not only is today A Day for Lovers, but it is also Svátek práce (Labor Day)...

For some May 1st represents A Day for Lovers, yet for others it commemorates the historic achievements of the Labor movement in the world...and some people recall the communist era in the Czech Republic.  Why?

The celebrations of May 1st are in many people's mind connected to the huge celebrations during the communist regime. For over forty years, there were float parades in all big cities in "Czechoslovakia".  The biggest parade was, of course, in Prague...to be more precise, in Letna Plain (a large empty plain in Prague 7).

Participation was mandatory.  People had to go if they didn't want any trouble, thus every year on May 1st, Letna Plain saw the same scenario - thousands of people waving little Czechoslovak and Soviet flags at the communist party officials who were seated on a tribune decorated in red, with huge pictures of Marxist leaders and signs "With Soviet Union Forever".  For everyone, this was a waste of time, but mandatory.

Thank God this era is gone and people don't have to go to Letna Plain on May 1st anymore and fake their enthusiasm.  Since the fall of communism, there is still the occasional demonstration on May 1st at Letna Plain, but these are anti-communist demonstrations.

No wonder Czechs prefer to celebrate A Day for Lovers rather than Labor Day!  Labor Day brings bitter memories, whereas Love Day brings, well, love!