October 28th - No longer a common holiday for Czechs and Slovaks
Although October 28th marks the founding of the Czechoslovak state, Slovaks do not recognize this date. In Slovakia, January 1st marks the date in which a national holiday celebrates the founding of the state which took place in 1993. Some might ask why is this so? After all, the first republic of Czechoslovakia was the first time in modern history where both Czechs and Slovaks had an independent state to call their own. I spoke to Andrea Kundrova from Radio Slovakia and asked her first, how significant the national holiday of January 1st is to Slovaks.
What happened was the most important thing for our nation because now we are very small, very young, but with a bright future. This day is to us is as important as the 28th of October.
Are there any elements of Slovak society which feel that October 28th should be celebrated as a national holiday?
"Well as far as I can speak for my self as a Slovak citizen, I think that people in Slovakia would appreciate if the 28th of October was a national holiday. Because it is one of the most significant days, if not the most significant day in the history of Slovaks and Czechs. You know, when in Prague and Czechoslovakia the independent Czechoslovak state was established we were actually freeed form Austro-Hungarian rule. It was very important for the future and development for both nations. There were people, as far as I can remember, Tomas Garrique Masaryk who was the one who actually in 1914 first wrote the project for an independent Czechoslovakia. So I think we can be grateful to him that it happened and it definitely should be a national holiday."
How do Slovaks generally feel about the so called first republic?
"I think that nothing better could have happened for us because still when we were part of Czechoslovakia there were two nations who were equal, who had their own languages, who were known as brothers who lived in one country and had their own rights and laws. But still as I can remember as a child I always felt that we were a little bit less then the Czechs. And now when there are two independent countries I can say that it is much better for us as well as Czechs, and even more better is the fact that we are still good friends. You know, many people not only from my young generation but from older generations still accept Prague, or say that Prague is the capital city. So it means that we are brothers even though we separated. There is no other nation, no other country in this world that we are closer to then the Czech Republic."
So would characterize Czecho-Slovak relations today as very good?
"As very good, a very unique standard and extraordinary. The economy is working well, the export and import is very good, we drive and cross the boarders without a passport - we only need to show ID that we are Slovaks. I think that for the future, for the development of both countries, we can see since 1993 that both countries were helping each other."