Hody Kunovice

In continuation of the recent theme of pining away for one's cultural home, cultural identity, or some cultural tradition, I bring you a recent experience of Czech folklore.

I think my greatest disappointment of my lack of a deep sense of cultural identity is a lack of awesome traditional clothing.  As German as my last name is and as much as I love affecting a German accent, somehow it would seem disingenuous to me if I put on a dirndl.  But, thanks to my friend Iva, I was able to vicariously experience the joy of traditional dress when I visited her in the midst of preparations for hody in Kunovice.

She invited me to come in the morning, when the head scarves would be folded and wrapped and placed properly.  When she answered the door, her fabric had already been secured, but the rest of her outfit still remained in its 10 or so parts, some folded some hanging in a box.

Before I could have the mystery revealed of how all these pieces together, I was swept up in the action of their preparations.  Part of the festivities would involve both the folklore participants and the spectators arriving at her house.  And, like any good Czech host or hostess, they would be providing drinks and sweets to these spectators.  So, I gave my fingers a sugar high while arranging plates.  (It never ceases to amaze me how inept I feel in domestic activities in comparison to the average Czech female.)  Once the plates had been arranged, I found a place in the crowded house, amidst other observers, the kroj (the name of Czech/Slovak traditional clothing), people dressing and being dressed.

This screen shot was stolen from the Hody Kunovice
Facebook page.
Piece by piece, I watched the skirts and aprons and shirts and vests be added.  The girls would stand as two wise and well-practiced women looked on and tucked and tied until what resulted was quite ravishing.  I was absolutely amazed as I looked at the women and girls dressed in kroj.

Once the dressing was done, the morning and afternoon were to be full of ceremony involving a mass in the church, a parade through town, and ceremonial asking and granting of the rights to the female leader (my friend Iva, at left) and male leader to be able to lead the upcoming festivities.  Though I didn't witness all the festivities, perhaps I saw part of the most charming--the hard work of preparing.  It touched me to see such tradition being kept...and it also arose a dose of envy--enough to remind me that none of us are devoid of culture/tradition, we just choose whether we'll keep it.

Photo: Karel Dušík
Photo: Karel Dušík


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