The Czech Republic celebrated its first Mother’s Day in 1926. Alice Masarykova, daughter of the President of Czechoslovakia, was instrumental in establishing this holiday. However, the communist later inaugurated Woman’s Day on March 8, which is still celebrated by many in Central and Eastern Europe. Woman’s Day is controversial owing to its politicized and propagandized nature, but times are changing since many younger people have no memory of communism. Mother’s Day, celebrated the second Sunday in May, is sometimes viewed as a commercial holiday.
Alice Masarykova fled Czechoslovakia after the Germans invaded. She returned in 1945 and lived with her brother Jan, who was the foreign minister. Jan opposed the communists and died mysteriously after they came into power. Alice lived in Prague for a short time after her brother’s death and then left the country again in 1948. Living for a time in Switzerland and Britain, she finally settled in the United States. After her death, her urn was flown back to the Czech Republic and placed in the Masaryk family tomb in Lany.
[Special thanks to Kytka at TresBohemes for use of the photos. http://www.tresbohemes.com]