Saturday, September 18, 2021

Traditions & Customs in Czech Republic

EuropeCzech RepublicTraditions & Customs in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a country in Central Europe, along with Slovakia, Austria, Poland, and Hungary. It is often erroneously referred to as a “Eastern European” nation in Western Europe and North America, and most Czechs are extremely sensitive about this—many would even pre-empt the ignorance of certain visitors by asking, “What region of Europe would you say the Czech Republic is in?” Answer “Central Europe,” not “Eastern Europe,” to be on their good side!

Czechs dislike it when outsiders mistakenly believe that their nation was a member of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire – both of which are untrue – despite the fact that it was a part of the Soviet Bloc and, before 1918, an Austro-Hungarian province. Commenting on how “everything is very inexpensive here” seems to be dismissive of the country’s economic situation.

If you are educated about the Czechoslovakian communist government after WWII, keep in mind that this is still a sensitive topic for many people, and it is easy to offend people in conversations about it.

Czechs are among the world’s most godless population. This is particularly true in big Bohemian cities. Don’t assume that anybody you don’t know believes in God or is a Christian. Respect it, and your religion will be honored as well.

When entering and leaving a small business, always say hello (Dobr den) and farewell (Na shledanou).

When eating with a host’s family at a restaurant, it is usual for them to pick up the bill, which is contrary to most Western norms. Don’t expect them to, but don’t be shocked if they do.

Always remove your shoes before entering a Czech home. When entering the home, Czechs typically wear slippers or sandals rather than their outside shoes. Depending on how traditional the host family is, they may insist on you changing into house shoes right away as a hygiene precaution, but this is uncommon. They will, at the absolute least, give you some to keep your feet warm.

When asking for directions, referring to Czech cities and localities by their previous German names (e.g., Budweis instead of eské Budjovice) may create confusion and be seen as insulting and disrespectful to the Czech people.

Moravia

The overwhelming majority of Moravians are not offended by the term “Czechs,” and consider themselves to be both. If you are learning Czech, be aware of the intricacies and subtle distinctions between the words Čechy (Bohemia) and Česko (Czech Republic) (Czech Republic). A Moravian may object to the word Čechy (Bohemia) being used to refer to the whole Czech Republic, much as a Welshman would object to his nation being called England. Because there are no major separatist groups in Moravia, and there is no ethnic strife, it is much more probable that you will be showered with love and loaded with wine just for attempting to speak Czech.