Czech Society and Culture
Family is a key element of Czech Republic culture and is generally placed ahead of work. Traditional families are quite the norm with mothers cooking and raising the children while fathers work. It’s common to see fathers pushing strollers on the weekend giving mom a break.
Extended Czech families are fascinating. They have an incredible range of experiences. For example, many grandparents have stories of war and very hard times while their children grew up solely behind the Iron Curtain. Meanwhile, younger generations have experienced only capitalism and free speech.
- Families take regular holidays together especially in August.
- Children are generally well-behaved and taught to respect elders. The child’s desires are not always first and foremost.
- Czechs like to celebrate holidays together and Sunday lunch is a family affair.
- Employers are generally sympathetic to family needs.
- Many mothers stay at home with children until they are 3 years old.
Czechs are fairly conservative by nature. Maybe it’s the long history of struggles, but Czechs know how to save, reuse and harvest.
Also, compared to many Western countries, Czech Republic has a more balanced work and play relationship. Czechs love their leisure time and take full advantage of time away from work. Holidays are well planned and parks are well used.
Of course too, Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption in the world. Czech beer is like water to many citizens. Prague has hundreds of pubs and places to have a drink. From a beer in the morning to wine at dinner, Czechs like to drink.
- Czech culture is a cottage culture. Many families have small cottages that they visit whenever possible. Prague can feel especially deserted on weekends in the summer.
- Czechs love the outdoors.
- People enjoy dining out in Prague. Many social gatherings are in restaurants or around the table at home.
- Despite many churches in Prague, the majority of the people do not attend church. Non-believers are the majority after a long bout of Communism.
- Czechs have a dark sense of humor. They love to make fun of themselves and the government.
Etiquette and Customs
Meeting and Greeting
- Shake hands when greeting someone and again upon leaving.
- Greeting with a kiss on each cheek is also common, but usually only among friends.
- Greet people when sharing a table at a pub, in elevators, inside train compartments, or upon leaving or entering a store.
- Talk about sports, especially hockey or soccer.
- Open your gift right away.
- Do bring a gift if invited to someone’s home.
- Give a gift from your home country. Good gifts are alcohol and flowers.
- Do not give even numbers of flowers or chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums are used for putting on graves.
- Politely refuse when being offered a gift. After the person giving it to you insists that you take it, then accept. When you give a gift, the recipient will also refuse until you insist.
- Do not spend more then $15–$30 (U.S.) on a gift.
- Take your shoes off upon entering someone’s home. You will be given some form of indoor shoes to wear inside.
- Wish your dining partners “dobrou chut,” which is the rough equivalent of Bon Appetit.
- Praise the food and ask for seconds, even if you’re stuffed.
- Toast with “Na zdravi” which means “To your health” Maintain eye contact while toasting.
- Do not stay too late into the evening. Leaving around 10 p.m. is appropriate.