I Love a Country that Celebrates Four Independence Days
Happy Freedom and Democracy Day! It is a great day for pork knuckles, klobasa, knedlíky, and raising your glass of ležák pivo to toast the Czech people and their nation!
We moved to the Czech Republic in 2018. Prague to be precise. We love it here, and very quickly we grew to appreciate Czech history and admire the Czech people. And yes, this country has four annual holidays that commemorate their independence. Each one with very good reason.
The Czechs have always been a passionately independent people. Look up the Hussites, for example. That independent streak has held together the Czechs in the face of near constant domination and manipulation by foreign powers. Their four independence days are a testament to the Czechs’ resolve and persistence. In historical order here are the sources of the four independence holidays in the Czech calendar.
Independent Czechoslovak State Day — (Den vzniku samostatného československého státu) — 28 October
Commemorates the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. The Czech and Slovak lands had been territories of the Austrian Empire then of Austria-Hungary. Czechoslovakia declared independence in the waning days of World War I, as Austria-Hungary fell apart. It was a nation cobbled together by the victorious Allied powers who thought they knew best for everyone else (a common trait among British, French, and American governments). The Czechs and the Slovaks were and are similar peoples, but definitely not the same. Still, they managed to create a nation under the sagacious leadership of philosophy professor Tomáš Masaryk, who for years worked for independence from Austria-Hungary and then served as Czechoslovakia’s first president. The First Czechoslovak Republic lasted until it was betrayed by the United Kingdom and France, first with the 30 September 1938 Munich Agreement, by which the Czechoslovaks, who were not allowed to participate in the talks, were forced to give up the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany, then again in March 1939 when the U.K. and France stood by as the Nazis invaded and took control of Czechoslovakia. The Nazis declared the…