Culture Name And Social Life
The term “Czech” refers to the Social Life characteristics of the Czech-speaking inhabitants of the Czech Republic (Česká republika). Which includes Bohemia (Čechy), the larger western part, and Moravia (Morava), the eastern part. In addition, Northern Moravia includes Silesia (Slezsko), a historical region that lies mostly in southwestern Poland. The Silesians (Slezané) of the Czech Republic tend to maintain their ethnic character, but many agree that they constitute a subculture within the Czech culture.
To begin with, Czechs call their culturečeská kultura. The historical and geographic term “Bohemian” is misleading, as it not only excludes. Czech-speaking Moravians but includes members of several ethnic minorities that live in Bohemia but do not speak Czech.
To help you dive into the social life in Czechia you should learn at least the basics of their official language, which is Czech. This is a Slavonic language like Slovak, Polish, Serbian, Russian, Croatian and Bulgarian. Although the alphabet used is the Latin one, they use lots of diacritical marks (accents), making one letter for one sound — and their marks can change the meaning and pronunciation of words
You will find that in Prague many people do speak English, and German, but not in country districts. However, the Czechs do seem to be both kind and patient. Learn a little Czech and it should go a long way.
Social Life in Czechia
To begin with, throughout a history of war, protest and government changes the Czechs have remained true to their traditions and values. Social life centres around the family, and, until they get to know you, you will find the people formal and reserved, although polite. Wait to be invite to use the first name, or you may be seen as insulting. If you are invite to a home, arrive promptly, bringing chocolates or wine. Be careful of flowers as they may have a romantic connotation to the over 35s. Avoid calla lilies as they are funereal, and avoid the number 13. Don’t sit until invited — and do praise the food — it’s a good subject for conversation. Note that the Czechs have a dark sense of humour and can laugh at themselves.
The Czech Republic is full of art and cultural events, Prague opera house is well worth a visit, for the lovely décor as well as the first class entertainment. Moreover, you will find classical concerts nearly every night in Prague. Also, they do have the highest beer consumption in the world! Prague has hundreds of pubs, but they also like the outdoors — gardening, cross-country skiing and sports. They are mad about football and hockey.
In addition, Prague has all kinds of nightclubs. Dance clubs with DJs, cool jazz joints, cocktail lounges and even a few dubbed as discos, not to mention the red light district. All night dancing and music is on offer at the best night clubs. Tourist information centres have a generous amount of information on the sites to visit, and the local library will have details of the culture — theatre, music, art, exhibitions and places to visit.
- 1 January Restoration Day of the Independent Czech State
- New Year’s Day
- April Easter Monday
- 1 May Labour Day
- 8 May Liberation Day 1945, the end of the European part of World War II
- 5 July Saints Cyril and Methodius Day
- 6 July Jan Hus Day — religious reformer Jan Hus was burned at the stake in 1415.
- 28 September St Wenceslas Day — in 935, St Wenceslas, patron of the Czech State, was murdered by his brother.
- 28 October Independent Czechoslovak State Day. Creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
- 17 November Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day
- 24 December Christmas Eve
- 25 December Christmas Day
- 26 December St Stephen’s Day
The Czechs are very well aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are quite understanding of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accept (but not encouraged).
Your behavior should begin with modesty as being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or dressing provocatively will get you stares. Likewise, placing yourself above others or boasting is view negatively.
As a visitor to the Czech Republic, just try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing in like manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Czech Republic Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.
The traditional dress in Czech Republic is call kroj (kroje is plural), which is root in historic Europe and has slight variations from region to region. For the women, this dress consisted of white shirts, a usually sleeve-less vest, a long skirt, an apron, perhaps a belt, and a cloth to cover the head. The particular designs and styles from region to region varie, but white and black seem to be found on all of them to some degree. For the men, white shirts, vests, and pants were the norm.
Today this traditional clothing is uncommon, but can sometimes be found during special events or in folk museums. More common today is modern western-style clothing, which can vary just as it does throughout Europe and the world.
As a visitor to Czech Republic there are few to no true dress restrictions. Just dress for the occasion as business settings and churches require more formal and conservative dress. While sightseeing or hiking in the mountains has few restrictions, as shorts are commonly accept, as are short-sleeve shirts.
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