The Ride of the Kings Folklore Festival
Vlčnov - every year, last Sunday in May, Kunovice - every 2 years (2014, 2016,2018...), Hluk - every 3 years, next 2017, 2020, Skoronice - every 4 years, next 2019 The Ride of the Kings - a part of UNESCO intangible heritage. What is it the Ride of the Kings? It is one of the traditions that have been passed down through generations. One explanation is that it is either a rite of passage where a boy changes into a man (because the "king" must be a virgin = approx. ten years old), but another explanation is that it tells of an escape of the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus after losing a battle with the Czech King George of Podebrady in 1469, when he fled the battlefield dressed up in women's clothing with a small entourage of protectors. Today the Ride involves a boy dressed in a girl's folk costume riding on a white horse while holding a rose in his mouth (so he does not speak and thus reveals himself). He is protected by 4 pages ("bodyguards") and other members of the group call to passers-by for a contribution for the king, to help him found a new kingdom. These calls are in the form humorous verses. The men prepare everything well in advance and ride on their horses to get used to each other. On Sunday morning, they ask the mayor for permission to Ride and then they ride through the village. At first, the group rides alone and later a parade of costumed participants with music joins them. During the last Ride, almost 30 young men took part on horseback (those in the King’s party should be of conscript age).
International Folklore Festival in Strážnice
This is again a beautiful parade of costumes, dancing and music bands - not only from our region but from the whole world. During this festival, a competition for the best recruit is held – click UNESCO/Verbunk. If one can do without sleep, he will experience unforgettable music from musicians who just meet up in streets, play together, improvise and enjoy themselves. People passing by join them, sing along and the wonderful melodies carry through the town for several days and nights. I so used to enjoy going there when I danced in a folk ensemble! You see, such music and atmosphere brings people together and you meet lots of new friends.
The Slovácko Wine Festival and Open Monument Days is probably the most beautiful celebration in the whole region. This weekend, friends from all over the Slovácko region meet up in Uherské Hradiště. The town squares and streets are full of market stalls selling traditional products made of wood, wicker, metal or ceramics. Everywhere there is a lovely smell of sausages and roasting meat. It is like one big fair. In the morning, up to 5,000 people in folk costumes take part in a parade - children, young and old people alike. Everywhere there is cimbalom music, brass bands, the town is full of colour and joy. Many kinds of wine can be tasted and also a Czech specialty "burcak" - special drink where the pressed grape juice starts fermenting and turning into wine but is not yet finished. You simply must come and taste it! Doctors say that this drink is very good for total body detoxification. All wine makers come here to show off the best they have. From morning till night, every corner of the town is crammed with events and in the evening the celebration continues in the "Vinohradska Street", a street full of wine cellars where music is played until the morning. On Sunday, the celebrations continue with concerts, demonstrations of dances and folk costumes, and as well as on Saturday, all places of interest are open for free (churches, chapels, the city ceremonial hall, etc.). It is a wonderful celebration of traditions, costumes, wine and music. Every year, the second weekend in September. You must come and live it!!!
Kopanice Festival in Starý Hrozenkov
This festival is held in the middle of July, in a village on the border with Slovakia. It is a mix of brass and cimbalom bands, singing and dancing ensembles. The specific costumes from Kopanice, ONLY hand-embroidered in cross-stitch, lively songs, specific dialect and rhythms of music attract many visitors every year.
Brass Band Festivals
The most famous one is in Dubňany (July), the oldest probably in Hluk, it is more than 40 years old (in July with Ride of the Kings, otherwise early August). However, there are many of them, because they are often held on the occasion of Hody (a feast festival) in villages throughout the region. Of course, everyone knows everyone and enjoys meeting up with friends. It is always fun, and everyone can dance and sing. All you need to do is say when you arrive and I'm sure something will be taking place! For example July - Ratíškovice, Dubňany, Starý Hrozenkov, Veselí n. Mor. August - Drietoma (Slovakia), Hluk, Strání, Valašské Klobouky September - Wine Festival Uherské Hradiště, Kroměříž October - Olomouc
There are many breweries in Moravia (the same as in the rest of the Czech Republic), big ones as well as smaller family ones. All of them organize Beer Festivals, there is plenty to choose from (Ostrava, Litovel, Uherský Brod, Vyškov and others) In addition, we can take part in a tour and tasting at any time throughout the year.
Fasank a celebration before Lent
Fasank is a festival which takes place in February or March, as the last event of fun before Lent. In some villages, it is just a fancy dress carnival, but some villages have retained the old strong traditions. Boys dance with swords, singing traditional tunes and songs and with them a group of musicians goes round the village, playing music and asking for contributions for the time of fasting (bacon, eggs, plum brandy and also money). A traditional Fasank is observed in Komňa, Bystřice and Strání (a five-day festival is organized there). For example, in Komňa, 4 boys must dance the dance with swords and sing a song at every inhabited house. The costume parade must include a "straw man", Grim Reaper, a bear keeper with a bear, tinkers, egg sellers, gypsy women – simply old traditional masks, not green aliens and similar mask as they do in other villages. Then in the evening there is a dance, where the bass is “buried” as a symbol of fun ending before Lent when it was not allowed to play anymore. The authentic fasank can be seen only in a few villages nowadays. If you arrive, you will be captivated by the show and you won’t believe that after such a hard day someone actually still goes dancing. Of course, I go every year too! Many more festivals take place in Moravia, such as festivals of brass bands, cimbalom music, folk dancing , but also a festival of garlic, cabbage, plums etc. If there is something that piqued your interest, you would like to visit one of the festivals or create a combined programme, do not hesitate to contact me! I am also able to create only a personal itinerary for your trip. Take your pick and contact me! Ladka