Although historically, Czechs have not traditionally attached any special holiday significance to February 14th (besides the Feast of St. Valentine for more traditionally-Catholic Czechs), the Czech Lands have been quick to adopt this primarily-American holiday following the 1989 Revolution, especially among members of the younger generation. Older Czechs (and quite a number of young people) may still prefer to celebrate the traditional Czech day of Romance — May 1st— instead.
But even though Czechs are embracing Valentine’s Day, not all American traditions, such as giving Valentine’s cards, have been accepted here. Czechs are also, typically, more reserved about giving such gifts to people they are not intimately close with— to celebrate a Valentine together is a romantic milestone for many people, and not something you do with whoever is handy.
Here’s a few ways Czechs like to celebrate their Valentine’s Days with their romantic partners.
Give the Gift of Flowers
Czechs love to give flowers to the special men and women in their life on many special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, and name days. Valentine’s Day is, of course, no exception, and many Czech florists (květinářství, in Czech) do excellent business in the days around February 14th.
Roses, as in America, are traditionally considered the gift of romance, though other combinations of different flowers (such as carnations and other red and white flowers) are popular. If you’ve forgotten the flowers, don’t worry— many major Czech cities have 24 hour florists who are more than happy to keep you from getting in trouble. Most even have some form of delivery service to make sure the blooms get there in time.
Make Sure You Include Something Else
Although flowers are traditional, they’re also a bit ordinary. Many Czechs would prefer their partners also get them something special along with the fresh flowers— a bottle of wine, some chocolates, or something else meaningful to them.
A typical choice for Valentine’s Day wine is Czech sekt, a type of sparkling wine similar to Italian prosecco, but slightly sweeter. Almost any Czech wine store, grocery story, or supermarket will carry sekt, which ranges in price from affordable to decadent.
Other fine options are boxes of bonbons or chocolates from local sweetshops or bakeries. Some Czech women may like jewelry, but much as in America, this is not universal nor is it typical to give at the beginnings of a relationship.
Take a Walk
If you’re looking for the best ratio of cost-to-romance, nothing beats a stroll arm-in-arm with your special someone through the beautiful sites of the Czech Republic, especially after a nice diner and Czech sekt.
Take advantage of the Czech Republic’s historic and natural beauty by walking through one of the many historic old towns and squares. Or better yet, make use of this year’s unseasonably warm winter and go visit some the Czech Republic’s romantic nature spots.
Wish you a lot of LOVE!
Your Team of PraguExpats