One of the oldest traditional festivals is slowly returning to the Czech Republic. Immerse yourself in the early spring carnival whirl!
Mardi Gras processions and masks in Hlinecko were for its uniqueness, which consists primarily in respecting the traditional character of the custom, inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
Originally pagan celebrations with roots in ancient Greece and Rome, Christianity deftly included in the liturgical calendar and defined the duration of Masopust carnival by Easter, which is why the so-called Masopust carnival or the remains, the last days of Carnival, when the fun is in full swing, accrue each year on a different date. But it had little effect on the character of the somewhat reinless custom. The pig slaughter period, the end of winter and waiting for spring, the last chance to eat your fill before the forty days of fasting, which starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Easter. All rituals, parades, carols, plays and songs, all directed towards a single goal - to coax a good harvest so that they could happily and carelessly have fun in the next year. There used to be many masks and there were some which occurred everywhere. They were either animal or human and if we say the mask, it obviously means the whole costume. Bass or Bacchus used to be buried. Parades and caroling had their unwritten, and passed from generation to generation, regularities and requirements. Meat and sweets were mainly eaten - a carnival sausage or donuts had to be a part of any carnival feast. Twenty years ago it seemed that the carnival would remain a rarity in ethnographic essays. But it is gradually coming to life again - Czech Masopust or Latin Carnem levare means "farewell to meat".
For masks to Hlinecko
If you are passing through Hlinecko you will get directly to the spring of carnival tradition. The best thing is to start in Veselý kopec or Hlinecko Bethlehem, beautiful open air museums, where a series of events are organized during the Mardi Gras season and you can learn many things about this tradition. In Hlinecko Bethlehem there is even permanent exhibition of carnival masks and processions from Hlinecko. You can watch the film, which was attached to the application sent to UNESCO. Of course, you can also experience the most important thing - the actual carnival parade and all the traditional tasks, pranks and tricks associated with it. But if you want to be there when the masked parade passes through a real village, where people commonly live, you must go to Vortová, Studnice, Hamry, Včelákov or Blatno.
How does the carnival unfold? It starts early in the morning, and masks are ranked in order as determined by tradition. The first duty of a walking procession for tinny music sounds is to ask the mayor for permission for the parade. The mottled mask Laufer is in charge of this. Once the permit is in his pocket, the procession can go around the village. The Turks caper around houses for a good harvest. It is expected that building owners will donate the sum to the evening jamboree. Knackers offer to buy a mare, chimney sweepers mark each person with soot, Strawy gives women straw stalks and tries to throw them into the snow - to be healthy and fertile. In terms of fun, the improvisation has no limits, the mask ones are allowed everything on this day. Finally, it is necessary to execute a mare. The Knacker takes it. He also reads the mare's testament. It is, of course, full of allusions to specific villagers and events in the village. Then the Mare is executed, but once the mare gets to drink alcohol, it jumps up and miraculously comes to life. The procession ends for the moment, but they all meet at the dance in the evening.
Missus, bake donuts, bear trainers coming
Today you can fortunately meet with carnival parades in many places. For example, in Český Krumlov. The renewed folk tradition of carnival will fill the center of the town for the eighth time. The masked parade, accompanied by jugglers, street musicians and theater maker, is very baroque, opulent and artistically remarkable. The scenery of Český Krumlov obviously gives the whole event a special brilliance. The Masopust carnival also occurs in South Moravia. In sight of the Nové Mlýny reservoirs in the shadow of Pálava, in Hustopeče, the carnival faithfully mingles with the honest Moravian pig slaughter. Not only people in civilian clothes warm up with hot pig blood soup (prdelačka) but also the Bear with the Bear trainer, the Pirate or Rübezahl (Krakonoš). Here masks are made on the basis of open imagination and contemporary allusions are not limited. The Hustopeče carnival in Turhandle simply confesses the carnival golden rule - everything is allowed. Beer mostly belongs to the masopust carnival in Bohemia, while here in Pálava, it is naturally wine.
The carnival tradition has even arrived in Prague. The festival Carnevale Prague is the single major and pivotal event of Prague in the period from January to March. It takes place in public places, palaces, museums, galleries, theaters, schools and workshops, but also in restaurants and shops. The Bohemian festival Carnevale Praha is a colorful showcase of our fabulous ideas, unique abilities, refined taste and dazzling creativity. The program of celebrations includes a wide range of cultural and social activities, from festivals, parades, workshops, street theater performances on historic squares and public spaces, concerts, balls, stage performances to the festival of traditional carnival culinary delights.
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