Journal of Ethnology 5/2013

The special issue of Journal of Ethnology 5/2013 presents an overview of the professional production of Czech ethnology. In her study (Moving Beyond Borders: Vráz, Frič and Kořenský), Barbora Půtová introduces three hitherto non-acclaimed Czech travellers – E. S. Vráz (1860–1932), A. V. Frič (1882–1944), J. Kořenský (1847–1938) –  who crossed the borders between Europeans and  the„exotic“ world. Stanislav Brouček submits his knowledge from the long-term research of personal testimonies of Czech expatriates living in South Africa (On Reflection of the Past in Memory. Czechs in the Republic of South Africa). Martina Pavlicová together with Lucie Uhlíková focus on the function of folklore and folk traditions in Czech environment in the period of the totalitarian regime (Folklore Movement and its Function in the Totalitarian Society /on an example of the Czech Republic in the 2nd half of the 20th century). Martin Šimša devotes himself to the origin of a selected type of male trousers in folk dress (Long Woollen Cloth Trousers – Medieval Heritage or Carpathian Attribution of Shepherd Culture?)  Petr Janeček acquaints the readers with the anthropological phenomenon of play significantly touching upon the culture of children (Current Studies of Games and Plays in the Czech Republic).

Material column publishes two contributions: Hana Dvořáková submits the knowledge of ethnologist František Pospíšil (1885–1958) from the research of children’s string games (String Games in František Pospíšil´s Photo Documentation) and Eva Románková explains the principles of the protection of traditional folk culture in the Czech Republic and its collaboration with the UNESCO (Czech Traditional Culture and the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity). The Journal publishes also reports about the activities of Czech ethnologic community and introduces the structure of this branch in the Czech Republic. 

Journal of Ethnology 4/2013 is devoted to expatriates. Zdeněk Uherek sketches the theme from the point of view of migration and he deals with the factors determining the formation of expatriates’ communities in Europe (Expatriates and Contemporary Migration Processes). Stanislav Brouček pays attention to Czech and Slovak immigrants who settled down in Australian island Tasmania (“Czechoslovakism” at the End of the World: Expatriates in Tasmania). Veronika Beranská focuses on the system of traditional medicine in the culture of Ukrainian and Kazakhstanian Czechs (Expatriates’ Folk Treatment and Ritualized Practises with Czechs from Ukraine and Kazakhstan Transferred to the Czech Republic). Barbora Kučerová reminds an enclave of Czech immigration in Central Poland (Contemporary Situation at Evangelic Reformed Church in Zelów on Example of Mixed Marriages) and Dagmar Petišková writes about Ukrainian immigrants in the USA and Canada (Ukrainian Diaspora in North America – its culture and publications related to ethnography).

Transferring traditions column publishes a contribution by Lucie Šilerová and Frank Trnka Czech, Moravian and Slovakian Traditions of Expatriates in Minneapolis (St. Paul, MN, USA). Review section remembers Jaroslav Mackerle and his ethnographic publication about the ethnographic area of Malá Haná (author Lukáš F. Peluněk). The Interview column is devoted to the musician Jiří Pavlica (born 1953). Social Chronicle mentions the anniversaries of ethnologists Jitka Matuszková (born 1953) and Jiřina Veselská (born 1943). Other regular columns offer reports from conferences and exhibitions, reviews of new books and other information from the branch, including a proposal of the Ethical Codex of the Czech Ethnographic Society.

Expatriates and Contemporary Migration Processes

The text is an introduction to the Journal of Ethnology’s monothematic issue about expatriates. Its goal is to classify the theme into a wider context, to show that the relation to expatriates differs in different countries and to demonstrate that in many countries the emigration and the relations to expatriates constitute a significant component of the history and a part of processes of national identification. The text also deals with factors that strengthen the relation between the source and the destination country in the process of migration. It shows that the theme of expatriates does not include only the theme of migration but also that of return migrations. From this point of view, the topicality of the theme of expatriates in Europe and the Czech Republic has rather increased than decreased recently. The examples of particular communities of expatriates come mainly from Europe. The author focused on the examples with Czech expatriates; partially he speaks about German, Polish, Irish and Armenian communities. In the conclusion, he mentions the contemporary trend of double residence and transnational lifestyle.

„Czechoslovakism“ at the End of the World: Expatriates in Tasmania

Based on written materials, interviews and exiting literature, the study reveals the process of “experienced Czechoslovakism” with Czech and Slovak immigrants in Tasmania, who have immigrated since the 1950s until now. The study proceeds on two factors that influence their adaptation. The first one was the experience of a specific transfer, actually a repeated flight (especially with those who emigrated after 1948). The other factor consisted in the changing migration policy in Australia. The time and the problem relates to basic parameters of their new existence, which they understand as a space for self-expression. The experienced Czechoslovakism was implemented in the sense of the citizenship that was taken away of them, but to which they claimed their allegiance. This is a slight paradox, i.e. what they in fact did not have (the Czechoslovak citizenship) became their mutual bonds. When returning to their original homeland (after 1989), however, they found out that especially the quality of interpersonal relations both in the Czech Lands and in Slovakia did not correspond to the standards they got used to, and they perceived and practised in Tasmanian environment. This fact led the most of them to a more conscious identification with their new home in Tasmania and upset their intention to re-emigrate back to Bohemia, Moravia or Slovakia.

Expatriates´ Folk Treatment and Ritualized Practises with Czechs from Ukraine and Kasakhstan Transferred to the Czech Republic

The study writes about folk treatment and related practices as they have survived in the memory of Czech expatriates transferred from the regions of the former Soviet Union, namely from Ukraine and Kasakhstan, to the Czech Republic. A special attention is paid to ritualized practices and folk magic associated with the word, such as healing procedures, exorcism, and incantation. The means and approaches of folk medicine are viewed from the angle of ethno-medicine and medical anthropology. The presented knowledge are based on a field research among the expatriates transferred to the Czech Republic between 1991-1993, mainly from the regions of Zhitomir and Kiev in Ukraine, and between 1994-2001 from Kasakhstan. The field research was implemented between 2009-2012 in the whole Czech Republic. The mentions about folk treatment and related practices were recorded in nine locations. Fifty persons altogether were asked about folk treatment. As confirmed by the field research, the transferred expatriates used ritualized practices and applied exorcism in folk treatment. They have kept in their memories some practices and healing means recipes until today, twenty years after their transfer to the Czech Republic.

Contemporary Situation at Evangelic Reformed Church in Zelów on Example of Mixed Marriages

The contribution based on a field research pays its attention to changes in understanding the ethnicity and religious affiliation with the people of Czech origin in Polish Zelów. The original concept connecting these two elements of identity survives only with the people born before the second re-emigration in 1945. Younger members of the evangelic reformed church with Czech ancestors consider themselves to be Poles of Czech origin. The cohesiveness has got looser since the 1960s when the people began to enter into mixed marriages. This fact shifted the language to the preferred use of Polish as their mother tongue. It was the newly founded Society of Czechs in Poland and its Czech Club presenting the Czech traditions in Zelów that has pointed out the Czech origin of individuals recently. However, the religious affiliation still remains the most important element in the life of Poles of Czech origin. The conversion as well as mixed marriages, which predominate nowadays, can be understood as elements regenerating the evangelic reformed church and ensuring its continuity.

Ukrainian Diaspora in North America – its culture and publications related to ethnography

Mass emigration of Ukrainians to the United States and Canada ran in four main streams - first for the social and economic reasons, then for the political ones. For the entire period of its existence, the local Ukraine community, which identifies profoundly with its roots, has tried to maintain their national traditions. Particular attention is paid to the third and most important wave of Ukrainian emigration to North America, because it involved the community of Ukrainian politicians, artists, and scientists who found their home in Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period. The contribution introduces the most valuable collections of Ukrainian museums in the USA and Canada and essential social and scientific institutions as well as ethnographic studies of Ukrainian Diaspora.

Journal of Ethnology 3/2013 focuses on the theme of the use of clay in traditional culture. From different points of view, the aforementioned theme draws the attention of the studies written by Barbora Půtová (Ideqqi: Ceramics Made by Kabyle Women), Jana Poláková (The Use and Processing of Clay by Romani People Living in the Territory of Former Czechoslovakia), Miroslav Válka (Historical Circumstances of the Extinction of Archaic Architectural Expressions in Pomoravsko-Panonský Type of Traditional Houses) and Martin Novotný (On Some Archaic Building Technologies in Clay Constructions in the Ethnographic Area of Haná). In the section of Other Studies, Eva Šipöczová introduces the political anecdote as a genre of verbal folklore (About a Hare and a Bear: on Thematic Delimitation of the Political Anecdote). Stopping with Photo column (author Helena Beránková), which remembers the phenomenon of the so-called Anabaptist Faiences, relates to the main theme as well. The Social Chronicle involves anniversary articles devoted to ethnologists Josef Kandert (born 1943), Mnislav Zelený (born 1943), Pavel Bureš (born 1953) and Vanda Jiřikovská (born 1933) and publishes obituaries for dance folklorists Petr Novák (1936-2013) and Barbora Čumpelíková (1930-2013). The other sections bring reports from branch conferences, exhibitions and festivals as well as reviews of new books.

Ideqqi: Pottery Made by Kabyle Women

This study deals with Kabyle pottery representing traditional Berber craftsmanship and artwork that has been developing for centuries in the territory of modern-day Algeria. The study focuses on Kabyle pottery, perceived as a specific set of artefacts, and on its manufacturers − Kabyle women. The manufacture of Kabyle pottery is artisan handwork, tabooed in many ways; it has been passed on from mother to daughter. Women have learnt know-how and practical skills concerning pottery manufacture through oral tradition and everyday experience. Kabyle pottery shows a specific feminine style, uncovering thus the Kabyle women’s mentality and their secret knowledge hidden in traditional society. The study describes and analyses phases of Kabyle pottery manufacture, its typology and motifs, which are presented as an independent semiotic system. The origin of Kabyle pottery still remains in a shroud of mystery. On the one hand, Kabyle pottery exhibits traits of autochthonous culture; on the other hand, it has also absorbed some foreign cultural influences. At present, Kabyle tribes strengthen their cultural identity and return to their cultural roots through the production of traditional Kabyle pottery. Moreover, motifs of Kabyle pottery inspire contemporary artists. This study further aims to describe, analyse and interpret Kabyle pottery as a unique demonstration of Berber culture which is an inseparable part of the Kabyle women’s world.

The Use and Processing of Clay by Romani People Living in the Territory of Former Czechoslovakia

The aim of the study is to summarize as much available information as possible that concern the former and today’s processing and use of clay by Romanies living in the territory of former Czechoslovakia; it focuses mainly on the sub-ethnic group of Slovakian Romanies. The approach of Romanies to clay can be divided into two levels - it is considered ritually unclean, but on the other hand, it gives people their energy. Romanies used clay as building material in a similar way the majority population did. Some groups of Romanies in Slovakia dealt with production and deliveries of unburnt bricks dried in the sun or field kilns. We have just sporadic information about the Romani manufacturers of pottery. Current economic situation forces the Romanies, who live in segregated Slovakian settlements, to use their knowledge about the work with clay, which provides us with new opportunities for field researches.

Historical Circumstances of the Extinction of Archaic Architectural Expressions in Pomoravsko-Panonský Type of Traditional Houses

In the European space, unburnt clay used as a building material is connected also with traditional Pannonian house in the Central Danube region. With its north-western outskirts, this cultural area reached the territory of the historical Czech Lands - the region of Central and South-East Moravia - and gave rise to Pomoravsko-Panonský /the Morava River Basin and Pannonian Plain/ type of traditional houses). Unburnt clay represents here the basic building material probably as late as since the 18th century, especially thanks to the fire-fighting and civil legislation, inter alia, which restricted the use of timber. In the 20th century, clay was replaced by industrially produced building materials to which contributed both the technical development and the civil legislation which limited and, in the end, fully restricted (1914) the use of unburnt clay. The process of extinction was not proportioned and related to the social and economical situation of village inhabitants in individual regions of Moravia. In the second half of the 20th century, the houses made of clay became old not only physically - a house made of adobe bricks with soil floors in its residential rooms, in the entrance hall for the longest time, became a symbol of obsolete and outdated culture of living. Unburnt clay has experienced certain satisfaction in the Czech Republic since the late-20th century as an environment-friendly alternative that is in opposition to conventional building industry.

On Some Archaic Building Technologies in Clay Constructions in the Ethnographic Area of Haná

The ethnographic area of Haná, situated in Central Moravia, is a region in which clay constructions prevailed in the past. The dug-in constructions utilizing the compactness of the local loess subsoil can be considered the oldest building solution. The loess subsoil allowed to build constructions without additional supporting structures. Excavation of underground corridors, pits or rooms used as caches for food storage (lochy) became a typical phenomenon in the region. Only exceptionally were later the dug pits used for dwelling. A unique proof of monolithic clay masonry in Haná could be discovered in a chamber part of a former farmstead in Dobrčice, district of Přerov, in 2011. The analysis showed that the building was probably made in the so-called cobbing technique, which had not been described in the region until that time.

About a Hare and a Bear: on Thematic Delimitation of the Political Anecdote

The contribution is devoted to the delimitation of the political anecdote and the joke. In the introduction, it publishes an overview of the Slovakian and Czech literature, and a brief overview of the world literature. Based on the concept of Umberto Eco´s over-interpretation shows that the content as a basic identification symbol constitutes often an insufficient criterion. Therefore, the limits of the political anecdote are searched in other properties of the Slovakian prosaic folklore and anecdote as an independent genre. The author defines the above based on the political and social conditionality of the period, in which the anecdote was and is living, as well as based on its bearer, performance, function and other features. She highlights the problematic or unclear limits for the definition of the monitored phenomenon in respect to the period and its character. As an example, she uses materials from the period of the real socialism in Czechoslovakia as well as those from the present age, which have been collected in the field research to a dissertation thesis. She sets the anecdotes beside each other, pointing to their common and different properties, their place in the society and their different or same perception.

Journal of Ethnology 2/2013 is devoted to the 1150 Methodius in Moravia. Jan Rychlík and Magdaléna Rychlíková in their introductory essay write about basic historical facts that accompany this event, as well as about relations of other Slavic nations to these personalities (The Cult of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and its Nationalisation in Modern Times). Marta Šrámková and Rudolf Šrámek focused on the investigated theme from the point of view of folkloristics and linguistics (Following the Cyril-and-Methodius Tradition in Prosaic Folklore and in some Moravia and Silesia’s Proper Names), Karel Altman drew attention to 1863 celebrations of the 1000-anniversary of Cyril and Methodius’s arrival in Moravia (The 1000-Anniversary of Saints Cyril and Methodius and the Czech-German Relations in Brno). Bulgarian ethnologist Katja Michajlova paid her attention to contexts in the development of the Cyril-and-Methodius feast day in Bulgaria (The Celebration of the Feast Day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Bulgarian Lands - History, Traditions, Politics, Present-Day Situation / (based on examples from Plovdiv). Aleš Filip, Jana Osolsobě, and Jan Osolsobě elaborated the theme of graphic expressions relating to Saints Cyril and Methodius (Cult of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Fine Arts /a key to their iconography/). Alena Křížová prepared a pictorial supplement Cyril and Methodius in Holy Pictures.

Section Review published A Memory of Alžběta Čihařová - Odehnalová, a Puppet Player and Collector of Folk Tales (by Leoš Vašek). Social Chronicle remembers the anniversary of ethnologist Jana Hrabětová (born 1943), ethnomusicologist Dušan Holý (born 1934) and ethnologist František Vrhel (born 1934), and publishes an obituary for choreographer Jiřina Mlíkovská (1925-2013) and ethno-choreologist Cyril Zálešák (1920-2013). Other regular columns include actual news from the branch and reviews of new books.

The Cult of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and its Nationalisation in Modern Times

The essay explains how the religious cult of Sts. Cyril and Methodius was changing during centuries. Both saints were - after the Great Schism in 1054 A. D. - considered saints mainly in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, while in the Catholic Church they were formally confirmed as saints only in 1880. Gradually, the cult obtained also national character. In the 19th century, Sts. Cyril and Methodius were considered mainly the Slavic saints because they brought Christianity to the Slavs, and according to the traditions, they were partly of the Slav blood. In addition, the particular Slavonic nations started considering them as national saints. Both brothers thus served as the factor forming the national identity of various Slavonic nations in the Balkans and Central Europe. The cult also led to disputes among the particular nations about the “nationality” of both brothers and mainly about the nationality of the Slavic people who they preached to. Because the place of birth of both holy brothers was in Macedonia, the Greeks, Bulgarians, and - in the second half of the 20th century - also the newly formed Macedonians began to claim Sts. Cyril and Methodius to become symbols of their national history and cultural heritage.

Following the Cyril-and-Methodius Tradition in Prosaic Folklore and in some Moravia and Silesia’s Proper Names

The essay’s aim is to trace the basic features as regards content, which characterize the Cyril-and- Methodius tradition in prosaic folklore, and which in form of a short message - regest - form a part of cultural and historical awareness. In folklore narrations in Moravia and Silesia, the Cyril-and-Methodius cycle keeps it stable position. The corresponding interest in this cycle is growing in dependence on the development in social and cultural conditions - e.g. in the second half of the 19th century in connection with strengthening the national identity (which found expression in the St. Wenceslas cycle in Bohemia) or with forming the historical awareness of so-called Moravian identity. It emphasizes the Christianizing and cultural importance. The present revitalization of the cult bears witness thereof. The cult is spread especially in the regions from the South of Moravian through Eastern Moravian to Silesia (so-called wider Opava Region) and adjacent regions of the ethnographic area of Haná (to the region of Litovel). In Western Moravia, only a reference to apostles’ journey to Bohemia occurs. The essay is concluded with an analysis of names occurring in etymological legends, as well as with notes concerning folk etymology.

The 1000-Anniversary of Saints Cyril and Methodius and the Czech-German Relations in Brno

The celebrations of the millennium, the 1000-anniversary of the arrival of Cyril and Methodius in Moravia, held in 1863, became one of the highlights of the so-called Cyril-and-Methodius movement. The celebrations were mainly connected with Velehrad as a cult place of pilgrimage, and Brno, the capital of Moravia. It was the life in this town, which determined in many respects social, cultural as well as political and national relations in the entire country, that was marked by the celebrations largely. The celebrations took place on 25 and 26 August and their manifold programme ran not only in the centre of the town, but also in Lužánky and Pisárky, traditional summer resorts. Altogether 61 singer’s clubs with 940 singers appeared on stages. The celebrations became the biggest event of that time in Brno, their cultural and artistic importance, however, was surpassed by their social and political - patriotic importance in many respects. Since this event, the relations between the Czechs and Germans in Brno as well as in Moravia began to change, because the impression of the celebrations brought significant consequences on Germans´ side. The period of conflict-free coexistence, defined by its mutual tolerance in everyday life as well as common participation in different forms of social life, was substituted by strict separation of the Czech and the German institutions and the corresponding division in social activities. The Cyril-and-Methodius celebrations, however, resulted also in internal differentiation inside the Czech national movement in Moravia because the disputes between the religious and the profane streams became deeper.

The Celebration of the Feast Day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Bulgarian Lands - History, Traditions, Politics, Present-Day Situation (based on examples from Plovdiv)

The article presents the tradition of celebrating the Day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Bulgaria and traces its development from a predominantly religious feast into a national holiday. The author points out that the first celebrations of the Feast Day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in 1850s through 1870s were connected with the struggles of Bulgarians against the Greek Patriarchy in Tsarigrad (Istanbul) under whose authority the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was at the time. These celebrations were expressions of the aspiration for independent autonomous church and religious service in Bulgarian language, and thus also for Bulgarian education. The article traces the history of celebrating the feast day of the holy brothers in the famous class school (later - a high school) “Sts. Cyril and Methodius” in Plovdiv. The author points out that before the Liberation Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, the day of the two Slavic apostles and holy brothers, which was celebrated in Plovdiv and in other towns of the Ottoman Empire, was perceived as a symbol of Bulgarians’ struggle for church independence and the celebrations were loaded with revolutionary pathos. After the national liberation, the Day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius continued to be loaded with explicit ideological meanings and became a symbol of the cultural and political unification of Bulgarians from the liberated Bulgarian lands, as well as for those that remained outside the state territory. Attention is paid to the special emphasis on the involvement of the celebration of this day within the educational process during World War II. The article discusses also the changed meanings of this festive day during the socialist period - in the direction mainly towards the educational activities of the two brothers. The reconstruction of the previous rituals on this feast day nowadays is also traced in the text.

Cult of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Fine Arts (a key to their iconography)

The essay pays attention to the iconography of Sts. Cyril and Methodius within the western Christian culture. There are more thoroughly analyzed the depictions of both brothers in the Middle Ages, both in Roma (Basilica of San Clemente) and in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. The depictions from the Modern Era are limited just to the Czech Lands, whereby they do not more concern the chronological succession, but the description of significant sings in the iconography of both saints, which are documented by particular examples. We have observed both the narrative cycles and the so-called iconic depictions where seven types of depictions of Sts. Cyril and Methodius are defined. The depictions are usually combined with each other: 1) brothers, 2) citizens of Thessalonica 3) monk and bishop 4) Apostles of the Slavs, 5) our fathers, 6) heathendom conquerors, 7) patron saints of the Moravian nation.

Journal of Ethnology 2013/1 presents the theme The Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov - methods of the contemporary research. The research was implemented by the members of the Study Group on Ethnochoreology ICTM and its Sub-Study Group on Field Research Theory and Methods, who did the field research of the Ride of the Kings, a traditional custom surviving in some locations in Moravia. Vlčnov is one such. The research specification was motivated also by the inscription of the aforementioned Ride of the Kings on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity UNESCO in 2011. The research focused especially on the contemporary form of the Ride. It was understood as an experiment that may help reveal new connections, the principle of transmission, and the existence of the phenomenon within different social context. The authors delivered the following essays: The Ride of the Kings from the Point of View of Contemporary Research (Daniela Stavělová), The Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov Seen from Outside (Lise Andersen - Heino Wessel Hansen),  The Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov - the course and major themes of the event  (Petra Dotlačilová, Petra Slavíková, Kateřina Syslová, Daniela Zilvarová),  What Did Vlčnov Live for? Media reports about the Ride of the Kings held in Vlčnov in 2012  (Dorota Gremlicová - Daniela Zilvarová), Ritual and Festival Interplay (on an example of the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov) (Anca Giurchescu), The Ride of the Kings inscribed on the UNESCO List and a Matter of Sense of Ownership, Control and Decision-Making: Whose tradition, whose heritage? (László Fölfeldi).

Transforming Tradition column includes a contribution titled Street Verbuňk (by Jiří Plocek). Social Chronicle remembers the anniversaries of ethnologists Ludmila Sochorová (born 1927) and Alena Plessingerová (born 1928), and publishes an obituary for musician, collector and ethnoorganologist Josef Režný (1924-2012). Other regular columns include information about exhibitions, folklore festivals, and reviews of new books.

The Ride of the Kings from the Point of View of Contemporary Research (Experiment)

The theoretic study mentions a series of articles that became an output of the international field research, which was initiated by the ICTM Study Group of Ethnochoreology. This study group focuses on the theme of field research within a more specialized ICTM Sub-Study Group of Field Research Theory and Method. The research was aimed at the traditional custom of the Ride of the Kings in Moravian Slovakia, which has been chosen with special reference to the context offered by its inscription on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This issue is projected to the perception of the customs by the surroundings, it is reflected in the way of its future sharing by the local community and it offers the field to research its viability and process of changes within the contemporary society. It is a pilot research that was drafted as an experiment because of the specific, collective, supranational and inter-generational approach and the application of some non-standard procedures consisting in combination of monitoring and interviewing techniques. It was one concrete year of the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov (2012) that was monitored. The data, which the quantitative research concentrated within the restricted time and space, should especially help formulate next procedures, hypothesis and issues aimed at the research of the importance of the mentioned traditional Pentecost custom within the today’s society.

The Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov Seen from Outside

This article is based on field notes made during the international fieldwork organised by the ICTM Sub-Study Group on Field Research Theory and Methods in Vlčnov in 2012. It is written from the position of an outsider. We took into the consideration when you make field research in a society, where you do not talk the language, you have to choose your mission in accordance with your lingual constraints leaving you with the possibility of observing the non-lingual communication between the different “actors” and to analyse the different roles, which were played by these actors. Even for us as foreigners (Danish) it was easy to observe, that during the weekend of the Ride of the Kings, there were more than one feast going on in Vlčnov. Before our eyes, a traditional spring rite was played out side by side with more-commercial elements and a mini folklore festival. We made some photo documentation of the different kinds of amusement going on in the village, but concentrated mainly on the Ride of the Kings itself. The essence of the custom - young men’s riding on decorated horses through the village at springtime - is something well known in many European cultures - the Danish too. Thus, the Ride of the Kings should be compared with a Danish custom rooted in pre-Christian fertility rituals which have two forms - the Shrovetide-ride and the “riding summer in town” at Whitsun - and which seem to have more elements of social control: not receiving the riders was the biggest shame.

The Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov - the course and major research themes of the event

The contribution pays attention to the course of the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov in relation to its actors, who are mainly the eighteen-year old local boys, so-called legrúti, and the young king and his family. The authors lean especially on the field research that they implemented in Vlčnov during four days between 24th and 27th May 2012, i.e. on the day before the festival and in its entire course. In addition to their on-the-spot observation, it was the interviews with the Ride’s participants, their relatives and other inhabitants of the village that constituted the source of information. The Internet and social networks provided other information. The Ride of the Kings in 2012 was the first one after the custom had been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. During the research, high stress was put on understanding of internal mechanisms in the community of young boys and their families which the Ride is related the most to. It was monitored to which extent the custom is just a spectacle for the visitors and to which extent it is important for its bearers even though a three-day folklore festival has been based on this tradition.

What did Vlčnov live for? Media reports about the Ride of the Kings held in Vlčnov in 2012

The study writes about a quantitative content analysis of published texts which appeared shortly before, during and after the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov in May 2012. They were published in regional and national printed media as well as in Internet news programme of Czech Television and Czech Radio. The basic question of the authors was how the inscription of the Ride of the Kings in South-East Moravia on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has influenced the way of informing about the event. Furthermore, the authors monitored the themes of commercialization, the actors of the event and their place in it and the assessment of the cultural importance of the custom. Separately, they analyzed the picture materials. The analysis pointed to certain discrepancies between the Ride’s aspects accentuated in written commentaries and the choice of photo documents, as well as in understanding of the importance of individual actors and their behaviour in the course of the Ride.

Ritual and Festival Interplay (on an Example of the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov)

The article is an attempt to analyze the relationship between a ritual event - Ride of the Kings - and the festival organized around it. Ride of the Kings is considered a ritual though its messages and symbols are not fully understood by the community. While the King’s Ride ritual provides a valuable reason for the existence of the festival, the festival - in turn - contributes to the promotion and transformation of the ritual event. There are discussed three modalities of transforming the ritual in theatrical performance: 1. A metaphorical interpretation of the „riders‘ procession“ by the children, on stage; 2. The transformation in spectacle of the most important ritual moment: the dressing of the King in woman‘s clothes. 3. The creation of a concluding fragment performed on stage and presented as an integral part of the traditional procession. The coexistence and interaction between the cultural traditions of the Ride of the Kings ritual, and the arbitrarily added festival have ambivalent consequences. On one hand, the King’s Ride tradition functions to support and legitimate the existence of the touristic festival. On the other hand, because of growing number of outsiders asking for more spectacle, the Ride of the Kings ritual may become progressively a cultural commodity and an integral part of the festival by moving from its traditional physical and social locations on stage or by being transformed into a standardized theatrical performance.

The Ride of the Kings Inscribed on the UNESCO List and a Matter of Ownership, Control and Decision-Making: Whose Tradition, Whose Heritage?

The paper is a kind of personal account on the field research of the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov (May, 2012). Based on this field notes, the author suggests an approach to the event based on the methodologies of political anthropology focusing on the concepts of ownership, control, decision-making. He proposes that this kind of approach may reveal the motivations and dynamism of the changes made by the participants of the event. The traditional descriptive perspective seems to be not enough for discovering the motivation of the changes year by year. It might be more useful for the researchers to perceive (and to be perceived) the Ride of the Kings in the ’power field´ of different decision-makers related to the event, not only locally, but on regional, national and international levels as well. It may help us answer some questions, for instance: Who decides about the person of the King and other ’actors’, about the route and stations of the procession (the Ride), about the participants of the festival and the fair. Who decided about the change of the original date and time of the ritual, about the age of the King, about turning the former intimate elements of the ritual into public „performances”, e.g. preparation of the Ride of the Kings at the house of his family? Who decided about the nomination of the Ride of the Kings to the UNESCO’s List, in order to make it more visible as an identity symbol? What motivated the decision makers for their decision? The author presumes that the discovery of the sense and consciousness of different kinds of ownership may reveal the system of control and the intentions for taking responsibilities.