July 8, 2017

3108 CZECH REPUBLIC (Zlin) - Hody in Moravian Slovakia

3108 Stárci with Rights in Kostelan village,
near Uherské Hradiště

Centre of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century, the Moravian Slovakia (Slovácko) is in nowaday a cultural region in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic, on the border with Slovakia and Austria, known for its characteristic folklore, music, wine, costumes and traditions. Due to the cultural and linguistic links to Slovakia, many ethnographers consider Moravian Slovaks as a people which politically belong to Czech lands but ethnographically and culturally to the Slovak ethnic group. Its most important center is the town of Uherské Hradiště, founded in 1257 on the Morava River by the Czech king Otakar II.

One of the most important feast which take place in almost all villages and towns of Moravian Slovakia is Hody, the annual celebration of the sanctification of the church (an extraordinary event for a community, because the construction of a church imply a lot of work and money). The time of the celebration differs - each village or town has a church building dedicated to a particular patron saint and usually the nearest Sunday after the date of the saint's day is also the date for celebration of Hody, which may last one or two days.

In the centre of the event stands a festive maypole which is erected one day before the festivity. The maypole is often more than 30m tall, built from two or three spruce trees, and stands in the centre of a dancing place. People are dancing and singing around with the accompaniment of the brass music. The main organizer is a selected young boy called první stárek (the first "old one"). He and a group of young friends (stárci or chasa) are responsible for the organization and smooth running of the event. Each stárek has a girl partner (stárka). The boys and girls wears traditional folk costumes, which differs widely from region to region.

On Sunday morning, chasa meet at the church to hear the festive mass, after which the stárci go around the village, inviting everyone to the feast. The celebration starts in the afternoon, when the mayor pass symbolically the rule over to the první stárek (the handing over of the Rights). The civil rights are symbolized by wooden boards decorated with colorful ribbons. The Rights must be carefully guarded, because lads from neighboring villages trying to steal them, and their loosing it would be the biggest disgrace for the první stárek.

About the stamps
About the first stamp, depicting the flag of the Czech Republic, I wrote here. The second stamp is one of the two of the series Bob and Bobek, about which I wrote here.

Moravian Slovakia - Wikipedia
Hody (Moravia) - Wikipedia
The Feast - South Moravian Region

Sender: Mirka Sluníčková Mlýnková (postcrossing lottery)
Sent from Ostrava (Moravia-Silezia / Czech Republic), on 01.07.2017

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