Let yourself be transported by the beauty of embroidered folk costumes, charming songs, and energetic dances. Visit the oldest folklore festival in Europe, taste regional specialties — discover the colorful world of Czech folklore. Many of these traditions have been inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list!
Put on a mask, loosen your belt
The period from Three Kings Day (January 6) to Ash Wednesday (February 22) is a fun time in Czechia. There are parades with people wearing colorful masks, and the sound of folk music fills the air. You can try local foods such as pork dishes and donuts. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? The festival is called Shrovetide, which has a long tradition spanning centuries in the Czech Republic. The Shrovetide processions in the Hlinecko region in East Bohemia have even made it onto the UNESCO list! However, Shrovetide festivities take place all over Czechia. If you miss them, you can still admire the masks at the exhibition in the charming town with an even more charming name – Betlém (Bethlehem).
On horseback with a rose in his mouth
Colors, music, and joy also accompany another UNESCO-listed pearl of Czech folklore — The Ride of the Kings. The most popular version is in the village of Vlčov, and takes place every year on the last weekend in May. This is when a procession of the king and his entourage rides around the streets on decorated horses. But this is not just any king! It’s always a little boy dressed in women’s clothing with a rose in his mouth. And what would an actual festival be without a feast? Besides the beautiful costumes, you can enjoy Vlčnov’s scones, slivovitz, and local wines.
A fairy tale rural jewel
You can’t leave Czechia without visiting the village of Holašovice in South Bohemia! The unique, rural baroque style of the Czech countryside, the folkloric traditions of yesteryear and the pleasant village atmosphere all characterize Holašovice. When you see it all, you‘ll understand why this picturesque place is under UNESCO protection. In addition, every year the village comes alive with the summer Holašovice Countryside festivities (July 21-23).
When men hit the dance floor
In summer, folklore is alive and well in Strážnice in a big way! The largest and oldest event of its kind, the International Folklore Festival Strážnice (June 22-25) takes place in the local open-air museum. The program also includes a true rarity — a competition for the best male dancers of the Slovakian Verbuňk, a wild dance accompanied by a cimbalom and brass instruments, also on the UNESCO list! Give it a go! And while you’re in Strážnice, stop by the local blueprint workshop. The indigo-colored fabric with white appliqués is another treasure listed by UNESCO.
If you like the unique atmosphere of open-air village museums with picturesque wooden houses, visit Czechia’s largest and oldest one — the Wallachian Open-Air Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm.