May first is International Labor Day. As such, it was a non-working holiday here in the Czech Republic. In the long tradition of Worker’s parades on May 1, the Communist Party held a rally at the city center. The Social Democrats took over with their own gathering in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Anarchists also had their own protest on Střelecký island, which then moved on to Náměstí Republiky. At the same time an extremist right party also gathered not far away at Můstek. To abate any violence, the police was out in full force with dogs as well as on horseback or in helicopters. Luckily, there was no major violence noted.
The second tradition unfolded in Petřín park near the Karl Mácha statue. In a salute to the romantic poet who died at 25 not long after writing the dramatic poem “May,” young couples kissed under the blossoming cherry tree. Here in Czech, May first is recognized as a festive day of love.
Far from all those political demonstrations and the young kissing couples at Petřín park, we celebrated May first by going to Czech chateaus. The first chateau we visited was Radim Zamek. We were there with my husband’s good friend and his family. They had a friend who was managing the chateau so we had the privilege of having a guided tour where the kids even got to dress up as characters in a fairytale.
I thought I was not going to get my kiss that day because Jakub was so active and both my husband and I had a hard time keeping him still. We couldn’t even manage to get a meal together because one of us really had to watch Jakub lest he hurts himself. But on the way home, he pulled over one of those blossoming trees and asked me to get out of the car. It was not a cherry tree, but it was a blossoming tree nonetheless. There, I got my kiss. It is the month of love afterall.