Sweet doughnuts, pork feast and colourful masks, this is how Czechs celebrate before the Lent period. According to a tradition dating back a thousand years, everybody should eat richer, fatty foods to build their strength up for the forty days of ritual fasting which ends at Easter. The oldest records of Shrovetide revelries in Bohemia and Moravia come from the Middle Ages, however these customs actually originated in pagan times. This multi-coloured tradition has deep roots in Czech culture. Shrovetide processions in the Hlinecko Region have also been added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Hlinecko Shrovetide ProcessionsShrovetide is celebrated almost everywhere in the Czech Republic, but in Hlinecko the form of these processions has remained the same for more than a hundred years – a fact well documented by reliable sources from the late 19th century. The pagan tradition has survived up to this day thanks to families who have passed it down from one generation to the next. Also thanks to them the customs have been entered in the UNESCO list. Processions are held in several villages such as Studnice, Vortová and Hamry along with Blatno, a part of the town of Hlinsko. Although it might not seem like it at first glance, these Shrovetide processions have clear rules. Processions travel from home to home wishing the master of the house happiness and good health in return for refreshments in the shape of doughnuts and alcohol. The evening is devoted to dancing and entertainment.
This year, you can enjoy the Masopust carnival in Vítanov (01/02 from 7:30 a.m.), Hamry (08/02 from 7:30 a.m.), Studnice (22/02 from 9 a.m.), Hlinsko Blatno (16/02 from 7 a.m.) and Vortová (22/02 from 8 a.m.). The Veselý Kopec open-air museum will host live masquerades from Studnice from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 1st February. In the Betlém folk architecture preserve in Hlinsko, there will be Farewell to the Carnival from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on 25 February.
Shrovetide in the Open-air Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, the largest open-air museum in central Europe, promises a real treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds (Feb. 15, 2020). Apart from the entertainment connected with the Shrovetide procession visitors will be able to taste the genuine pig feast specialities. There will be a competition for the best sausage and most tasty brawn, which is traditionally made during the pig feast activities. Small pieces of pork in aspic, best served with vinegar and onion, are an ideal snack with beer.
Where to Enjoy Masopust in Prague or Elsewhere?The carnival celebrations in Prague include carnival processions, feasts, dancing and singing in the city streets. The busy celebrations take place all over Prague, for example, at Kampa in Malá Strana, in Letná, Žižkov, at the Jiří z Poděbrad Square, in Břevnov, or in Karlíně. The traditional carnival gastronomy will not only be available in Prague restaurants, but also in the National Museum of Agriculture. On 25 January, there will be a festival including a traditional hog-slaughtering feast. You can also experience the pork feast and try pork specialties on a stroll through Prague at the Smíchov riverbank on Saturday, 22 February. The traditional Žižkovský masopust will offer a wide range of activities. The festival lasts for three days (22-23 February and 25 February). The last day (25 February) of the festival will end with an attractive procession of musicians, people on stilts, artists, giant angel puppets and other masks. The procession will start at Jiří z Poděbrad Square (4-5 p.m.) through Havlíčkovo Square to the Viktoria Žižkov stadium.
The Masopust festival with the typical colourful procession of masks, accompanied with street performers, jugglers and musicians can also be experienced in Český Krumlov. The programme also includes a carnival feast with traditional hog-slaughtering specialties (22-25 February).