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  • Kati and Roger

May Day

Where to go in Europe May Day Maj Prague

The first of May is a public holiday in the Czech Republic. It is the day set aside for Labor Day, but is more widely celebrated as the "Day for Love." In Prague, people visit the park on Petřín Hill to enjoy the nice weather and adorn Karel Hynek Macha's statue there with flowers. In the 1800s, the Czech poet Macha wrote Maj (May), now regarded as a great piece of Czech literature. The romantic poem recognizes May 1st as a time of love and tells the tragic tale of two young lovers. It is tradition on this day to kiss beneath a blossoming tree to ensure love and beauty all year long. However, legend has it that a woman who is not kissed beneath a flowering tree on this day will wither and die within the next year. Below is a preview of Maj. The poem can be found in its entirety here.

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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