Mikulov Folk Costume Festival
Written by Alzbeta Cirusova
Kroj is a certain type of folk clothing used for festive occasions, usually religious feasts such as the celebration of the Divine Heart of Jesus. But also for many other traditional events typical of the Czech Republic, such as Jizda kralu, Staveni Maji, slahacka or vinobrani (wine harvest). These costumes have specific parts with distinctive names. If you ever heard someone saying Kosarek, it means a feather decorating a hat. Traslavice is a name for casual trousers. Every region has its own variation of this costume.
There is also another tradition related to the previous one, called Krojovane hody (Folk Costume Festival). It is an event in which this type of clothing is worn.
The most famous krojovane hody is held in the beautiful and historical town of Mikulov.
Mikulov is located at the border between the Czech Republic and Austria. When these two countries were together in Austria, and then in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, it was an important place for trading. A magnificent castle towering over the city was built in the 11th century, and rebuilt into its present baroque form in the 18th century by the Dietrichstein family.
Krojovane hody in Mikulov is organized to celebrate the Christian feast of Abundance around June 25 and it lasts the whole weekend. First is the meeting of “starci.” Starci are usually people in their early 20s to early 30s who are not married yet. Their job is to lead the whole costumed group, which is called the “chasa.” This chasa creates a procession passing through the city, usually accompanied by typical music like “dechovka.” Gradually, the other inhabitants of the city join the procession as well. They all go to the Church of St. Wenceslas. Then there is a meeting with representatives of the city. In many small villages, this step is replaced by visiting the house of the city Mayor, who usually offers some kind of alcohol. His or her house, as well as houses of starci, is labeled for the duration of the krojovane hody. The whole event ends with the evening entertainment, when funny scenes are often acted out, but the main attraction is singing and dancing. It also involves young people from different cities and villages who come dressed in their own kroje. They are called “prespolni,” and it’s easy to recognize them, because they always come on bicycles. Why? Simply, it is not said in vain that a Moravian will teach you how to drink.
The youngest children enjoy their krojovane hody on carousels and other attractions which come to cities where the event is held. Often, it is one family which owns these attractions and travels to neighboring villages.