Folk customs, in ethnology usually covered by the terms “custom tradition”, “ceremonial culture”, or “annual customs”, are a large and thematically differentiated part of traditional culture. They include expressions related to particular calendar dates (calendar customs, called also annual customs), and to events in human life (family customs, customs of life cycle). Specific are customs related to certain social groups (agrarian customs, and customs of vintners, craftsmen, miners, trainees and journeymen, students, etc.)

Folk customs are quite stable. The tradition as a form of passing down cultural values within a local community played a significant role in safeguarding those values. Simultaneously, there were opposite tendencies which led to changes. Customs feature syncretic nature, whereby quite new phenomena appear beside the old ones, and cultural elements as part of different periods overlap. When documenting the customs we observe their bearers – actors, initiators, organizers (children, young people, women, men, family, association, interest group) as well as the course and expression elements of a custom (motions, singing, music, speeches, artefacts of material nature).

We understand the customs in its common sense as a way of behaviour, defined by the tradition, which is commonly accepted, extended and stabilized within a corresponding community; it appears in repeated situations of everyday life, and especially at essential moments in human life, society nature; it is part of the system of societal communication. Some present-day custom expressions have the character of a ritual; the ritual accompanies breaking events in human life; the execution thereof is a condition for the acknowledgement and confirmation important changes´ validity (e.g. parents giving their blessing to the engaged couple before the wedding; saying goodbye to a deceased). Festive days, holiday days or feasts are a stabilized cultural form of societal and family life. They keep the family and societal life interesting and cyclic; they adhere to calendar data, which are defined by both Christian (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, All Souls´ Day) and civil tradition (May Day, Jan Hus Day, 28th October etc.). The festivity is both a societal (a gathering of people) and a cultural (idea, event, programme) phenomenon; it usually relates to an institution that organizes it.  From this perspective, one can speak about e.g. church, club, community, national or state festivity (Corpus Christi, first mass, blessing of firemen´s engine, festival of compatriots, jubilee festivals of villages, school festival, Christmas tree festivals etc.).

3.1 Calendar customs

related to
– the cycle of nature´s life during the year
– saint´s days in calendar
– civil holidays in calendar

3.1.1 Customs at the end of Masopust   

Masopust, or time of carnivals and balls, is a period between the Day of Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. The date of Ash Wednesday is moveable. The period of Masopust comes to its height during Shrovetide, a period before As Wednesday, and it usually ends in February or March.  Its names differ from region to region. In traditional culture, it used to be a period of weddings, pig-slaughtering, dance parties, door-to-door processions with people wearing masks.  The last three Shrovetide days concentrate a plethora of different customs, which are diverse in their origin – doo-to-door processions, disguises, special foods, dances and dance games, theatre sketches, and dance parties, at which young men, women, children, guilds and clubs showed their abilities and activities. The Masopust period also features student´s dance parties and balls, which are typical for urban culture. Šibřinky developed at the end of the 19th century as a masquerade dance party organized by the Sokol sports club.

3.1.1.1 Door-to-door processions and masks and disguising: Door-to-door processions of persons wearing masks and accompanied by a music band have been safeguarded in many places: the spectrum of masques is colourful, beginning with old animal masques (a bear, a horse), “the contrary world” (men disguised as women), and circus characters, to the masques imitating and parodying different occupations, jobs, status, representatives of other ethnic groups (a Jew, a gipsy) with a tendency to ongoing situation (characters from television, homeless people etc.). When making the masks, everyone expresses his or her creativity and inventiveness.

3.1.1.2 Shrovetide pastries, forms and local names: Typical are different types of roasted pastries (dough donuts, butter pastries called boží milosti with different shapes) made for the visitors to and participants in the processions. Today, they are the only commemoration of this period in many locations.

3.1.1.3 Passing of Carnival “right”, a door-to-door procession with the “right”: In traditional culture, the door-to-door processions used to be a matter of single young men who were given the right by the Mayor to organize dance parties. The hallmark of this mandate was a decorated rod (sabre) termed as the “right” with which the participants of Carnival processions visited houses and which used to hang in the pub when humorous judgements were pronounced against present inhabitants for their apparent offences. The “Carnival right”, typical for the tradition in the Haná region, has survived to date. In the 20th century, the masked processions and dance parties are usually organized by clubs (firemen).

3.1.1.4 Burying of the double-bass (of MasopustBakus etc.): The period of festivities symbolically ends with the burying of the double-bass (of the Masopust), a folk play parodying a church burial. The main motif was based on the subsequent period of Lent with forbidden entertainment and dance parties.  The end of the Masopust period was personified by the double-bass (or a dummy called Bakus). The masked characters (a priest, a sacristan, crying women) perform a sketch with humorous speeches enriched with topical well-known stories and properties of local people. The performance is organized by musicians, amateur theatre players, clubs, especially the firemen´s ones, in the country as well as in the cities, from where the custom might originate. In the country, it has survived in various forms to date.

3.1.2 Spring and Easter traditions

3.1.2.1 Processions with a dummy named Death (carrying-out of Death, Winter): A children´s procession with a dummy representing death, winter. It is related to the Passion Sunday. The dummy is predominantly dressed up as a woman, but sometimes also as a man (SmrtkaMařenaand Smrťák). The procession, in which mostly children and predominantly girls take part, is associated with ceremonial songs and rhymes. The older form of the procession included the destruction of the dummy and the subsequent treat. The Passion Sunday – in liturgical year, it is a Sunday of Lent, two weeks before Easter.

3.1.2.2  Door-to-door processions with a small tree called májek, letečko, jedlička…:  The door-to-door procession of girls carrying a decorated small tree (májekletečkojedlička), which is accompanied by ceremonial songs, rhymes and ditties. It relates mostly to Passion Sunday (it follows the carrying out of the Death or it takes place even before it), in some locations to Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday – a Sunday of Lent one week before Easter.

3.1.2.3 Easter

For Christians, it is the most important feast of the year, devoted to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon. It is preceded by the preparatory period of Lent, and its height comes in the Easter (Passion, Holy) Week, which begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. In traditional culture, Easter is associated with customs related to the arrival of spring and new period. The customs include ritual acts associated with purification (ceremonial washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday), with new fire (burning of Judas on Holy Saturday) and with fresh verdure (pomlázka – a braided whip made of pussy-willow twigs). The rattles announce day times instead of church bells, which are forbidden in accordance with church tradition. The processions were given different regional names, usually in connection to the instruments (klapání, hrkání, řehtání, harfování etc.), and a quite firm structure of organization according to participants´ age. The procession is led by the oldest boy.

3.1.2.3.2 Easter pastries: Easter pastries of various shapes and names: zoomorphic cake Easter lamb (it stood for a sacrifice for Jesus suffering in Christian symbolism), jidáš of different shapes (figural and S-shapes), mazanecbabůvka (a loaf of sweet bread).

3.1.2.3.3 Easter “pomlázka”: In traditional culture, the pomlázka is a term for a custom related to the last Easter day – Easter Monday, meaning whipping of girls and women using braded pussy-willow twigs. The word pomlázka is also one of the names for the twig, whereby this is called differently from region to region (žílapletenecmrskačkatatar etc.), as well as the name of the gift the boys are given after the ceremonial whipping. The custom itself features a lot of regional terms (mrskutšlahačkašmigrus etc.). In north-eastern Moravia and Silesia, women and girls are doused with water instead of being whipped; in some places, both customs overlap. The magical meaning of whipping using pussy-willow twigs was associated with the belief in fertile and life-giving force of vegetation, which was transmitted to humans by touching them. Traditionally, decorated eggs are given as gifts for the pomlázka, nowadays these are extended by many new types (gingerbreads, ribbons). Various ways of braiding the pomlázka from 4-8 twigs. Bug 2-metre-long pomlázkas with ribbons are used by adult lads.

3.1.2.3.4 Eggs decorating (decorated eggs): Eggs (or blown eggs) are decorated and coloured in many ways, a gift for pomlázka.

3.1.2.3.5 Games with eggs: a traditional children´s game on the meadows features many forms (rolling the eggs on an inclined plane, cutting the eggs using coins, high-throwing of eggs); surviving only in some places.

3.1.2.3.6 Decorating the graves at Easter (with decorated eggs, pussy-willow twigs, pomlázka): In the 20th century, the custom to decorate graves (mainly those of children, boys) with artefacts with Easter symbols – decorated eggs, braided pussy-willow twigs.

3.1.2.3.7 Easter rides on horses

3.1.3 May customs

Customs, feasts and youth´s festivals, relating to May Day.

3.1.3.1 Maypole erection: erection of deciduous or coniferous trees with debarked trunks, and the tree crown decorated with ribbons and headscarves, outside girls´ house (individual maypoles) or in the centre of the village (community maypole). The community maypoles are usually decorated with a flag, a dummy (an old man), a bottle of wine etc.; the maypole is a centre for entertainment and dancing. The tradition says to guard the maypole as the fallen-down maypole means a destroyed prestige of local young men. Maypole erection is a vivid customs in many locations and in most regions. Maypole as a hallmark of May days is visible from far away, and the prestigious struggle to protect is important even today.

3.1.3.2 Maypole felling at the end of May is associated with humorous, mostly improvised sketches with masker characters according to a traditional scheme (a group coming to cut down and steal the maypole, the other one protecting it). To get the green top of the maypole is a matter of prestige, and for this reason the young men often fight for it.

3.1.3.3 Humorous customs on May Day eve: writing of inscriptions on the street, former behind house gates; making of lime paths between houses of pairs of lovers – the sense of  the customs is to publish close relations between pairs of young people, to publish events in the house, to express sympathies and antipathies, common criticism etc.

3.1.4 Whitsunday, Pentecost

A moveable church feast at the beginning of summer, celebrated 7 weeks after Easter. The liturgical calendar includes it in Easter cycle.

3.1.4.1 Whitsunday royal parades: the custom to elect a king and to organize parades, rides and games with the characters of a king and a queen and their cavalcade in different forms and with different names: processions of girls with dances (královničky, králky » little queens, walking with queen), walking parades and horseback rides of boys with the king (chasing after the king, rides of the kings, playing king). Horseback rides with the king around a village has developed into local folklore festivals in Moravia (Troubsko, Kralice, Vlčnov, and Hluk). The rides with the king still include traditional rhymed chants in which the selected young men (chanters) address different persons, remind of events that happened in the village, and invite the onlookers to give them a gift.

3.1.4.2  meal in nature (škračenica» scrambled eggs making) have survived in north-eastern Moravia to date as a traditional occasion to meet family members, club members, or friends.

3.1.5 Corpus Christi customs

3.1.5.1 Feast of Corpus Christi – in Catholic Church, a solemnity celebrating the real presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist. It follows the Easter cycle and is celebrated on the ten day after Pentecost.

3.1.5.2 Traditional culture attributed a special power to verdure and flowers blessed at a pilgrimage procession. They were then used as protective elements at home, in stables, and in the fields. Folk tradition is demonstrated, among other things, in the decoration of four altars and in ornaments made of petals outside houses.

3.1.6 Annual fires

Bonfires on certain days in the calendar; in traditional culture, this were the Day of St. Phillip and Jacob (30th April), and the Day of St. John the Baptist (24th June).

3.1.6.1 Burning the Witches on 30th April is a still observed tradition in many places in the Czech Republic. It is customary to burn a straw dummy of a Witch on a pile of wood, or to throw birch besoms impregnated with pitch or tar into the air. The customs used to be usually initiated by young people, nowadays it is local organizations that are initiators thereof. The custom offers an occasion for young people or families with children to gather at the bonfire and to have some snack.

3.1.6.2 Memorial fire: bonfires on 6th July to commemorate the burning of Master Jan Hus (in colloquial Czech Hus´s fires, Hus´s stakes) were based on the initiative of non-Catholic churches and nationally-oriented associations (Sokol sports club) in the 19th and 20th century, and their programme was steady (lantern procession, official speech, song Hranice vzplála tam na břehu Rýna).

3.1.7 Kermesse (feasting, kermaš)

A traditional festivity related to the patron saint of a village (or consecration of the local church), associated with feasting and meeting of a wider family and relatives. It plays a societally integrating role. It poses a set of customs, entertainments and games to which special songs, dances and dance games, as well as pastries, ceremonial items, clothing and adornments of the participants relate. It includes common elements (e.g. feasting, festive dishes – usually a roasted goose, traditional dance parties, stalls with tawdry goods, shooting galleries, merry-go-rounds etc.) as well as elements that are typical for a certain region and associated with the traditional role of chasa, young people, especially in Moravia:

3.1.7.1 Maypole erection, special dances below the maypole (zavádění, kola » round dances, zavádka » pair dance, hošije » male solo dance)

3.1.7.2 election of a representative (representatives) of the chasa, and kermesse leaders

3.1.7.3 invitation to kermesse

3.1.7.4 theatre dramatic sketches (sentencing the ram tied to the maypole)

3.1.7.5 parades of young people with kermesse wreath and kermesse right (a symbol of young people´s representatives, kermesse leaders).

3.1.8 Harvest festivals

3.1.8.1 Harvest festival (dožatáobžínky): a festival upon the end of the harvest, which took place in homesteads, manor farm estates, and agricultural cooperatives. The harvest festival´s principal activity is to hand over a wreath made of corn (to the farmer, the owner or a representative of the farm), which is initiated by people working at the harvest, and the subsequent reception. In addition to harvest festivals as a celebration of people working in the fields after the harvest, we can observe festivals of a wider societal range in the 19th and 20th century. Those festivals were organized by clubs, political parties, and interest associations (communal, association, and national harvest festivals).

3.1.8.2 Hop harvest festival: a festival associated with the end of hop harvest, accompanied by a procession and handing-over of a wreath made of hop (a stick wrapped in hop etc.), a reception, and a dance party.  Festivals of a wider societal type have evolved (hop harvest festival in Žatec).

3.1.8.3 Vintage festival: a festival associated with grape harvest; a large bunch of grapes is carried in the procession; the festival includes old vintner´s customs (closing the vineyards, reading of vintner´s rights)). The vintage festival has taken roots even in regions without any wine-growing tradition in the form of a dance party organized in rooms decorated with bunches of grapes and livened up with a humorous penalizing the “thieves” of grapes.

3.1.9 Advent

The beginning of the liturgical year, the period of 4 weeks before Christmas. Traditional culture features door-to-door processions with masques, future-telling, magic acts to protect from evil forces, and parades with masked persons disguised as fantasy creatures, saints, animals, humorous figures etc. These parades contain cultural layers of diverse origin and character. Recently the interiors have been decorated with an Advent wreath, which originated in German tradition.

3.1.9.1 Barborky door-to-door processions on St. Barbara Eve (4th December), barborky were girls and women wearing white masks. They entered the rooms and commanded the children to pray; then they distributed nuts, dried fruits, gingerbread, and sweet pastries. Today, they distribute cherry-tree branches in some places.

3.1.9.2 Lucky door-to-door processions on St. Lucy Even (13th December). Lucky were white-robed women who carried a feather brush, a spindle or a stirring spoon in their hands and whose behaviour made the character of the masque complete. They swept off dust, they beat female spinners´ fingers with the spindle or the stirring spoon, they blew off feathers plucked by women, and they scared children. They did not speak, or they just produced hissing or growling sounds. The door-to-door processions have survived in some places in eastern Moravia.

3.1.9.3 St. Nicholas door-to-door processions on St. Nicholas Eve (6th December): the procession mostly consists of Nicholas dressed as a bishop (wearing a cope, a high crown in the form of mitre, a crosier), a devil with a chain (wearing a fur coat, his face is black – coated with soot or covered by a mask), and an angel (wearing a white gown, with wings, a bell and a basket full of gifts). Sometimes, other masked figures accompany the threesome, which originate in much richer St. Nicholas processions in the past (white-robed Death with a scythe, a Jew with bells, a Turk with a sabre, a Negro, a Franciscan, as well as person disguised as animals, such as a goat, a horse, a stork etc.).  Currently, it is also children who dress up as St. Nicholas, which is a modern tradition, and it is customary that several groups go around a village or a town. Traditionally, for the production of the masks mainly items available at home were used.

3.1.9.4 St. Nicholas pastries: figurative pastries made of bread dough, used as gifts for children. Various shapes (especially Nicholas, devils, lords, babies etc.) were made by hand, or they were cut of a dough and supplemented with braided dough and sprinkled with poppy seeds. Such type of pastry has survived in the region of Walachia.

3.1.9.5 Translocation of the Virgin Mary Statue: a popular worship in nine evenings before the Christmas Eve (novena). It is held in different houses in each evening, where the Virgin Mary statue is translocated. The custom has only seldom survived in believing Catholic families, being initiated by women. It is based on the biblical narrative about searching for accommodation.

3.1.10 Christmas

A religious feast to honour the birth of Jesus Christ. The liturgical calendar understand the Christmas cycle to last from 24th December to 6th January. The Christmas tradition merges old holidays of winter solstice and rituals aimed at prosperity in farming and family in the coming year with Christian ceremonies and legends.

3.1.10.1 Christmas Eve foods – in traditional culture, they included dishes and food to which folk belief attributed properties of vegetative forces (e.g. cereals, fruits, poppy seeds, garlic among plant products). Traditional Christmas Eve diet included dishes made of mushrooms and sauerkraut, fruit sauces, diverse kinds of pastry. The Christianization introduced fish and waffles as part of Christmas dishes. The Catholics understood Christmas Eve dinner as fast matter.

3.1.10.2 Christmas Eve divination – traditional ways of future-telling aimed at harvest, weather, humans´ fate (to be recognized from cut apples, cracked nuts, number of brought logs, thrown shoes, etc.). It has survived in families as a kind of entertainment.

3.1.10.3 Bethlem flock (ship, bleating) – a Christmas Eve procession of boys with small bells, who imitated ship with their voices. The shepherd played the shepherd horn and cracked with a stick; he was given a gift of food. The procession was accompanied by musicians; in this form, the tradition has survived to date as the gathering of citizens, children with bells and musicians (the Moravské Budějovice area)

3.1.10.4 Christmas tree decoration

3.1.10.5 Day of St. John the Evangelist (27th December) – the tradition is associated with blessing of the new wine (southern Moravia).

3.1.10.6 Cake feast: young people´s entertainment on the New Year´s Day. It is associated with slicing of the decorated cake given to maidservants after the end of their one-year service. In several villages in eastern Moravia, the cake feast survived until the end of the 20th century as entertainment of adolescents.

3.1.10.7 Three Magi Day – 6th January: a religious holiday to honour biblical wise men from the East, who came to Bethlehem pay homage to Infant Jesus and to give him gold, frankincense and myrrh. The feast is associated with the door-to-door procession of boys performing biblical Three Kings. The boys used to sing a well-known carol in front of houses and they were given in-kind gifts or money; in some places, they used to carry a small Nativity Scene and a rod with a golden star. The king carolling is a remnant of plays the boys used to perform in houses. Lately, the Catholic Charita has based its Three Kings Collection on this tradition.

3.2 Customs and ceremonies associated with human´s life cycle

3.2.1 Customs concerning birth

3.2.1.1 visits to lying-in woman (bringing gifts to the corner)

3.2.1.2 gifts for new mother

3.2.1.3 welcome to life

3.2.1.4 baptism

3.2.2 Customs concerning wedding

3.2.2.1 proposing marriage to a girl: A custom following the mutual will of both young people to enter into marriage. A traditional procedure when a boy visits his girlfriend´s parent, asking them for their statement, usually with a bunch of flowers in his hand. Our interest will be aimed at the extent of safeguarding this tradition in urban and rural environments.

3.2.2.2 engagement: A public ceremonial confirmation of the agreement about entering into marriage, associated with a home reception held usually in bride´s parents´ house with the participation of relatives and friends. At the reception, the engaged couple exchange their rings and the wedding date is announced. Our interest will be aimed at the viability of this tradition in rural and urban environments.

3.2.2.3 invitation to wedding: A standard defining the way of inviting the guests to the wedding. Although there were different traditional ways of inviting, all of them was personal. Inviting using printed invitation cards is a modern way that became naturalized in the mid-20th century. We are interested in who invites the guests personally and whom, whether the post of wedding ceremonialist, who invites the guests on behalf of the engaged couple,  still exists, when the distribution of written invitation cards began in a location.

3.2.2.4 pre-wedding gathering of young people: A gathering of young people, or other persons, before wedding, with refreshment, music and singing symbolizing the end of unmarried status. The party took place at the bride´s and it included the preparation of wedding wreaths and nosegays; however, the bridegroom and his friends organized a similar party too. We observe who organizes the party (whether the bridegroom, the bride or both of them together), where and when the party takes place, how it is called (singing, svíca – farewell to freedom), who takes part in it, which songs are sung etc.)

3.2.2.5 wedding house marking: A custom to mark bride´s house with small birches, a gate, a figure etc.

3.2.2.6  wedding attributes: A custom to mark the bridegroom, the bride, wedding ceremonialists (groomsmen) and other wedding guests with a green twig, or a wreath. We record plant species (myrtle, rosemary, box tree etc.) and names (nosegays, robe etc.).

3.2.2.7 wedding gifts: These are gifts exchanged by the engaged couple (a bride´s grift for the bridegroom, and the bridegroom´s gift for the bride), then bride´s (bridegroom´s) gift for the mother-in-law, and gifts brought by wedding guests. We record what was given in the past, and what is given now, which importance is attributed to gift value.

3.2.2.8 place of wedding reception

3.2.2.9 bringing of in-kind presents to wedding reception: A traditional way how neighbours and relatives contribute (or contributed) to the reception, usually in kind. We record whether and in what group of neighbours (small village, street, and district) and to which extent this tradition has survived.

3.2.2.10 wedding parade stopping: The custom to stop the wedding parade on their way to the wedding ceremony of after it. We record the name of the custom (zalikovánízatahováníšraňk, and brána), the way (form) of stopping and the object used to do it, and the place where the wedding parade is stopped. Our attention is paid to the group that initiates and implement the tradition (women, young people, or men) and to folklore expressions used at implementing the custom (songs, traditional speeches).

3.2.2.11 blessing given by parents: The ceremony of parents´ blessing given to the bride and the bridegroom. We record whether and to what extent (in which families) the tradition has survived, whether wedding ceremonialists (bridesmaid, groomsman, witness) are present during the ceremony and the traditional speeches have survived.

3.2.2.12 wedding ceremonialists: Persons charged by wedding families to serve as ceremonialists, organizers and entertainers at the wedding. We record names of those ceremonialists (bridesmaid, maid of honour, man of honour, groomsman etc.) and their present-day tasks.

3.2.213 Wedding pastry: Products made of flour – cakes and types of gateau. Large ceremonial types of pastry were replaced by gateau already in the first third of the 20th century. We record shapes, decorations, local producers and their creativity, quantity of these artefacts at the wedding. The gateau given by the bride to her mother-in-law took over a traditional role of a gift. It will be interesting to find out how this custom is currently widespread. We will focus on the level of local awareness about older types of traditional pastry.

3.2.2.14  tests: A custom according to which the bridegroom and the bride are supposed to carry out various working operations (wood cutting, sweeping etc.). The customs are said to reveal properties of the newly-weds and to estimate their future. Our attention is paid to those who initiate the tradition.

3.2.2.15 season suitable to organize the wedding: Folk tradition determined the season suitable to organize the wedding (the period of Masopust, in autumn but before Advent at the latest). We record whether this tradition is maintained. We will be also interested in finding out whether and to what extent the myth about unlucky weddings in May applies  (in May on to bier).

3.2.2.16 superstition relating to the newly-weds´ future: Accidental phenomena at the wedding, which folk belief attributed a fated importance for the future of the newly-weds. We will be interested in discovering which events, phenomena and attributes are a basis to predict luck or bad luck for the new marriage (flickering of candle light on the altar, rain, wedding parade meeting the funeral one, black cat etc.).

3.2.2.17 throwing fruits over the newly-weds: The tradition to throw fruits (cereals, rice, bonbons as a substitution) was an act to secure prosperity. We will want to find out what importance is attributed to the custom today.

3.2.2.18 customs and entertainments at wedding reception: Diverse acts, currently of entertaining nature: reading of telegrams, breaking plates into pieces when the newly-weds enter the room, collecting money with a shoe or a plate, offering a false bride etc. We record local forms of these traditions and those who initiate them. We are interested in discovering whether some of traditional wedding games (e.g. shaving etc.) have survived.

3.2.2.19 čepení of the bride: A custom confirming the change in bride´s position, when her girl´s wreath was replaced by a married women´s bonnet. We record the current (mostly entertaining) forms and the sense of the custom.

3.2.2.20 bride kidnapping: A modern custom – a group of wedding guests takes the bride to an unknown place. We want to find out how often this happens at present-day weddings and what the public attitude to this phenomenon is.

3.2.2.21 boxes of wedding sweets to take home: It is a custom to give a box with wedding pastry to wedding guests, neighbours or other people. We are interested in the etiquette thereof (form, look, and way of handing over).

3.2.2.22 wedding in accordance with local traditions: Our intention is to find out whether the local people are interested in organizing a wedding in accordance with older regional traditions.

3.2.2.23 demonstration of a traditional wedding at festivals: We record performances of local folk groups (ensembles). We desire to find out which sources is the performance based on.

3.2.3 Celebration of life anniversaries and important events

3.2.3.1 wedding anniversary (silver, gold, diamond, platinum wedding): the celebration consists in congratulations, giving gifts to those celebrating, and refreshment. This can be a family, a public, a profane and a religious event (participation of a municipality representative, holy mass).

3.2.3.2  Celebration of important jubilees in the life of an individual, birthdays, name days. The celebration consists in congratulations, giving gifts to those celebrating, and refreshment. A birthday gateau with candles plays an important role.

3.2.3.3  First communion and confirmation. Christian religious ceremonies confirming the allegiance to the church, accepted at baptism. The ceremony is a family event at which the child is given gifts from his/her godparents, and it includes meal.

3.2.3.4 playing music for Josephs and Annas.  This related to Joseph (19th March) and Anna (26th July) name days; in the past, these names were very popular. The “music” was played by musicians and young people with small lids.

3.2.4 Customs and ceremonies associated with death and burial

3.2.4.1 phenomena predicting death in a family Superstitious imaginations according to which the death of a human in the house is announced by a strange sign (especially dreams, behaviour of animals – owl hooting, dog howling, hen crowing, natural phenomena etc.).

3.2.4.2 acts after the death of a family member: Special acts with the goal to allow the soul to leave the house as soon as possible (open windows, stopped clock, covered pictures and mirrors).

3.2.4.3 funeral A set of ceremonies carried out in connection with the death and burial of the deceased, beginning with the death and burial to the reception after it. In the past, when people mostly died at home, the set of these customs were richer (e.g. placing of the deceased in the coffin, display of the coffin at home, which was connected with protective objects and acts, deceased person´s ceremonial farewell to his/her house, place, village). Currently, the ceremonies include evening prayers in the house of mourning, and funeral (procession to the cemetery, religious or profane burial ceremony, saying good-bye to the deceased person at the grave, acts of bereaved persons at the grave, reception after the funeral). We observe the differences between confessions, funeral in present-day rural and urban environments).

3.2.4.4 Funerals of a local club member (fireman, hunter, sportsman). We record unusual matters in the case of such funerals (e.g. clothing, carrying of coffin, ceremonial shooting, carried awards etc.).

3.2.4.5 Funerals of young unmarried persons include several wedding attributes and symbols (participation of bridesmaids and groomsmen, myrtle wreath, “white bridesmaid”) as well as symbols of prematurely ended life (“black bridesmaid”, broken candle, pillow).

3.2.4.6 reception of those taking part in the funeral in the house of mourning, currently mostly in a restaurant. Or attention is paid to the group of invited persons (relatives, musicians, singers), to the venue, way of inviting, courses of dishes).

3.3 Customs, celebrations and feasts of diverse social groups

3.3.1 students´ customs (majáleslast ringing of school belljuniáles)

3.3.2 chats of seniors

3.3.3 reunions of countrymen

3.3.4 singing festivals

3.3.5 customs of hobby clubs and associations (hunters, fishermen, tramps etc.)

3.4 Local festivals originating in local specific feature (a significant historical and cultural phenomenon)

(Example: Run for Barchan in Jilemnice, vintage festival in the city of Znojmo, beer festival in the village of Černá Hora, Pernštejn Festival in Nedvědice, local folklore festivals)

Context of customary expressions: Initiators, organizers, interpreters of customary expressions b

Literature: Encyklopédia ľudovej kultúry Slovenska. Sv. 1-2 [Encyclopaedia of Folk Culture in Slovakia. Vol. 1-2].  Bratislava 1995 * Frolcová, V.: Velikonoce v české lidové kultuře [Easter in Czech Folk Culture]. Praha 2001 * Frolec, V.: Lidová obyčejová tradice a obřadní kultura. Terminologické otázky [Folk Customary Tradition and Ceremonial Culture. Issues of Terminology]. Národopisné aktuality 19, 1982, 253-272. * Frolec, V.: Svátky a slavnosti v lidové kultuře [Feasts and Festivals in Folk Culture]. Opus musicum 18, 1986, 33-40. * Slavnosti v moderní společnosti [Feasts in Modern Society]. Sborník příspěvků z XI. strážnického sympozia (13.-12.7.1990). Strážnice 1993.* Frolec, V. a kol.: Vánoce v české  kultuře [Christmas in Czech Culture]. Praha 1988. * Langhammerová, J.: Lidové zvyky [Folk Customs]. Praha 2004. * Obřady, obyčeje a zvyky: In: Vlastivěda moravská. Země a lid. Sv. 10. Brno -Strážnice 2000, pp.187-212. * Válka, J.-Štědroň, M.: Svátky a slavnosti v dějinách kultury [Feasts and Festivals in the History of Culture]. Opus musicum 17, 1985,  289-297.

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