Student Festival Majales: Parades and Pop Concerts

Student festival Majales celebrates spring and student life. Festivities are held all through the month of April. It starts with the erection of a maypole and culminates in the Majales parade in Prague and other student cities in the Czech Republic. Majales (derived from Latin Maius which means May) hails the arrival of the month of May and celebrates hedonism of student life. Besides the parade, the Majales festival is celebrated with musical performances with famous artists, no significant Czech pop group will be missing.
The open air festival usually takes place in Letnany festival grounds. Concerts are often held at Stromovka. Tickets need to be bought beforehand and will not be sold at the doors.

Student festival

Student Festival Majales

The Majales festival means a whole month of fun before the exams start. It starts off with the erection of the maypole. Students decorate it with ribbon and garlands in the colours of their university. Each university selects a candidate to be king or queen. A competition decides who wins the title. Be aware, it is not a beauty contest! Candidates must introduce a project that enhances student life and defend their choice in a debate. The chosen king or queen will then work together with the city authorities to implement their project. Project could be anything from student start-ups support, to healthy lifestyle or linking the generation of students to senior citizens. The former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, was elected the first King of May after the revolution.

The Majales Tradition

The Majales tradition started with the rise of universities in the 15th century. In Nazi days it was banned and during the communist regime the festival was replaced by May Day matches. Majales advanced the development of counter culture in Czechia. In 1965, The American poet, Allen Ginsberg, was crowned King of May, but the communists kicked him out of the country. He was deported because corrupted the students with his provocative poetry he write for the Majales festival.

If you are in Prague in April and want to join in Majales festivities, ask the tourist office on Old Town Square (under the Astronomical Clock) for information.

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