The “Short Trousers For Václav Havel” initiative marks the anniversary of the death of Václav Havel (December 18, 2011), the country’s first post-communist President. Participants roll up their pants to remember Václav Havel’s first inauguration to the Presidency in December 1989, when he wore visibly short trousers.
The goal is a “gesture that is humorous, non-violent but significant and perhaps even very Czech like.”
The “trousers” reference dates back to Havel’s inauguration as Czechoslovak president on December 29, 1989, when cameras caught the almost painfully reticent champion of the Velvet Revolution in pants that barely reached his ankles.
Years later, in a 2006 interview, Havel tried to dispel what he called a “national myth” by saying he’d simply adjusted his pants during the ceremony and they hadn’t settled in time for the cameras, which had turned on him earlier than scheduled.
“Every man knows that we pull our trousers up from time to time and then it takes some time before they get back into the original position. That’s what happened that time at the castle. And because the military parade took place in the fourth minute instead of the fifth, since then it has become a national myth that I had short trousers at the inauguration,” Havel explained.
The “Short Trousers for Vaclav Havel” Facebook page was launched on October 2 and has so far attracted around 10,000 likes.