Czechs and the Labour Day
May 1st is still a national holiday in the Czech Republic - Labour Day Holiday - though not many people in this country observe it as such. The years of May Day parades and socialist slogans extolling the virtues of work have put them off all that.
Somewhere mid-way down the plain was the tribune, where all the important Communist party leaders stood - and from the lofty height of the tribune - they raised their hands in greeting to the river of socialist workers streaming below them, smiling and waving to show how happy they were to be working and living in Communist Czechoslovakia.
That is not to say that they smiled and waved throughout the long parade for the sheer joy of it- merely when they came close to the tribune -so that there were constant and -seemingly endless - outbursts of good cheer just below the Communist party officials.
Once one got past the tribune and far enough down the street it was easy to slip away down one of the many side streets and people just wandered off in various directions - mostly to enjoy a stroll in the spring weather, buy the kids a balloon and hot dog or seek refreshment at one of Prague's many pubs.
As a result, most Czechs have an inbred cynicism for "organised mass events" and on most national holidays they simply leave Prague for a pleasant and undisturbed weekend at their country cottage. Twelve years after the fall of Communism, the Communists and Social Democrats still observe Labour Day with an open air rally every year -but only a smattering of people attend.