Written by Adela Julinkova
In southern Moravia there are many traditions, but it is folklore that plays a significant role in people’s lives. One of the most important events is a feast day called “hody.” This is traditionally observed throughout the year, with each village or town celebrating on a different date. Its origin refers to the anniversary of the consecration of the local church after its construction was completed. Over the years it turned into a folk festival. The form may vary from place to place. In some villages two feasts are celebrated – a women’s feast and a men´s feast. Let´s visit the small village of Komorany together and take a closer look at its festival.
As in other villages or towns, a group of people called “chasa” meet and agree on the exact date of the feast and other details. These include both men’s and women’s folk costumes (there are two types – a festive feast costume and a working feast costume) and special shoes that are rented. Furthermore, the band that will play during the whole event, as well as the wineries that will supply drinks, are carefully chosen. Last but not least, it is necessary to prepare the performance and “midnight surprise.”
Chasa put on their folk costumes and go house by house to invite the residents of the village. On the chosen date, they all meet at the home of the first “starek” (literally “old man”). They sing, dance, form a procession, and meet the mayor of the village to ask him or her to lend them a stick called a “prava” (the symbol of leadership in the village). Then the procession walks through the village, stopping from time to time so that chasa can perform dances and offer passers-by some refreshments. In the afternoon all the residents of the village decorate the village maypole with ribbons and erect it. In the evening the festivities culminate in community entertainment, dance, dulcimer music, and wine drinking.
For more information about the Komorany click here and about South Moravian Region, from which this this folk tradition comes, click here.
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