There’s always something going on in South Moravia. The period from the Three Kings to Ash Wednesday is traditionally dedicated to fun and good food and drink. This time, known as carnival, is the last opportunity for fun and feasting before the long Lenten fast. The highlight of the celebrations is a masquerade parade, which includes musicians, a costumed chase and, of course, masks. Among the most traditional masks of all are a mare, an old woman, and a straw man.
What kind of celebration would it be without traditional brandy and a lot of food? Sweet pastries of all kinds are typical of the carnival period, For example, cakes, doughnuts and meat. The carnival in Moravia ends with a symbolic burial of a bass fiddle, followed by the beginning of the fast, which lasts until Easter. Come and enjoy the South Moravian carnival, so that you have something to remember during the long weeks of Lent!
Ride of the Kings
The Ride of the Kings is a strictly Moravian affair nowadays. It used to be common all over the country, but today it is held only in Slovácko and Haná. Since 2011 it has been on the UNESCO list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Ride of the Kings is basically a procession of summoners on decorated horses that accompany the king. The roots of this ceremony go back to the 15th century when the Hungarian King Matthias, after being defeated by George of Poděbrady, fled from Hungary disguised in women’s clothes. To commemorate this event the king, portrayed by a boy, rides in a woman’s dress. He holds a rose in his mouth, probably so that he couldn’t speak and thus reveal himself.
To be chosen as a king is a great honor for the whole family. A boy can play the role of the king just once in his life. During the procession the whole party passes through the village and utters brief proclamations, for which the spectators reward them with donations. The procession is usually accompanied by traditional costumes and folklore music from the entire region. Probably the most famous is the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov, where it takes place on the last Sunday in May. Make a note in your diary and come to enjoy the unforgettable atmosphere of this event.
Dance, songs, costumes
South Moravian folklore will engulf you. How about visiting a folklore festival in Strážnice? Let yourself be carried away by the beauty of folksong, dances, and costumes. You can become part of the jury to choose the best dancer of the so-called Slovácký verbuňk, a dance full of jumps with no choreography whatsoever. It is danced only by men to the sounds of a dulcimer or brass band. And what would folklore be without colorful costumes! The folk costume is a defining feature of individual ethnographic areas, strengthens the sense of belonging of its bearers, and preserves the tradition passed down from generation to generation.
Blueprint came to our region from the Far East. This is a technique of printing fabrics with natural indigo, with a sophisticated production process.
Today, blueprint can only be seen at two surviving family workshops: the Blueprint Worklabs in Strážnice and the Danzinger Blueprint in Olešnice. Both the Slovácký verbuňk dance and blueprint are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.