Leisure Recreation and the Arts

Women and men both have a fair amount of leisure time, though working women have slightly less because they still do most of the housework and childcare. Vacation time is generous (4-6 weeks a year for most people, not including frequent state holidays). Under Communism, restrictions on travel, scarcity of consumer goods, and a general retreat from public life into the safety of the family meant that much free time was spent with members of one's immediate family in activities that required only minimal financial resources: hiking, swimming, spending time at the family cottage, playing card games or board games, and drinking alcoholic beverages at home with friends and family or in a pub (beer and liquor prices were, and still are, artificially low in comparison with food prices). Both women and men enjoy singing songs, traditional Czech songs and more modern ones, while sitting around a campfire or during evenings at the cottage.

More men than women are found in the typical Czech pub, and groups of male friends or male business associates often gather there. Women also go to pubs, either alone or with a male partner or with other friends of either sex, but married women with children are more likely to stay at home. Young single women are more likely to go to dance clubs or bars, while older women will sometimes enjoy a beer at a neighborhood pub. Formal dancing, both traditional Czech dances such as the polka and classical ballroom dancing, is popular among young people of both sexes, and constitute major events during the social year for adolescents and young adults. In the villages, dances for people of all ages are still a major form of entertainment during festivals and holidays.

Certain games are associated more with one sex than the other. Men in pubs traditionally played a card game called marias, but the game is much less commonly played now. Women are more likely to play bridge. Boys usually play rougher games: soccer (fotbal), ice hockey, floorball, etc., while girls play sports such as badminton. Boys also played marbles (marmany) and collected various kinds of trading cards (cecka), though these have now largely been displaced by video games.

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