Saint Valentine’s Day isn’t a Czech tradition – the ‘Czech Day of Love’ or ‘Svátek zamilovaných’ is celebrated on May 1st. Prague lovers tend to visit Petřín hill and kiss under a blooming cherry tree. Legend has it that a girl who is not kissed will wither and die in twelve months.
However, February 14th (a Wednesday this year) is the name day for Valentýn (the day of Svatý Valentin). Western influences have resulted in plenty of Czech restaurants and florists embracing the event.
A number of Prague fine-dining restaurants are already advertising a Valentine’s Menu:
Bellevue – An expensive five-course Menu for 2890 CZK per person
Mlynec – Four courses for 1390 CZK per person
Kampa Park – Five courses for 1 795 CZK per person
Hergetova Cihelna – Five courses for 1 125 CZK per person
But the best value for fine dining in my opinion is:
U Emy Destinnové – with a good four-course menu for 800 CZK
If that’s still exceeds your budget, the James Joyce Irish Pub is offering a Valentine’s Day menu for two for 985 CZK (for two not per person) including a free bottle of Bohenmia Sekt. Click on the image when the link opens to see the menu.
The Royal Theatre is screening the classic Audrey Hepburn movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Two tickets and a bottle of French wine for 690 CZK. I’m glad the Royal have started to be innovative again as they seemed stuck in a rut of repeating burlesque shows.
If you hate everything about Valentine’s Day, there are places for you:
Beckett’s Irish Pub has an anti-Valentines Day Party with live music from Neil Brooks. They promise that there won’t be a love heart in sight. And only a few hundred metres away, California Republic has the same idea with another anti-Valentine party with a welcome drink, free comedy show and live DJ.
Obviously romance is out of style in Vinohrady – well I guess the Royal Theatre still counts as Vinohrady.
I’ll leave you with the first stanza of the poem Máj (May), written by the romantic Czech poet Karel Hynek Máchay:
Late evening, on the first of May—
The twilit May—the time of love.
Meltingly called the turtle-dove,
Where rich and sweet pinewoods lay.
Whispered of love the mosses frail,
The flowering tree as sweetly lied,
The rose’s fragrant sigh replied
To love-songs of the nightingale.
In shadowy woods the burnished lake
Darkly complained a secret pain,
By circling shores embraced again;
And heaven’s clear sun leaned down to take
A road astray in azure deeps,
Like burning tears the lover weeps.
Byl pozdní večer – první máj –
večerní máj – byl lásky čas.
Hrdliččin zval ku lásce hlas,
kde borový zaváněl háj.
O lásce šeptal tichý mech;
květoucí strom lhal lásky žel,
svou lásku slavík růži pěl,
růžinu jevil vonný vzdech.
Jezero hladké v křovích stinných
zvučelo temně tajný bol,
břeh je objímal kol a kol;
a slunce jasná světů jiných
bloudila blankytnými pásky,
planoucí tam co slzy lásky.
And a picture of the famous photograph ‘Kiss by the Hotel de Ville’
by Robert Doisneau: