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Hody: A Traditional Czech Village Celebration

Many villages in Moravia (the southeast part of Czech), celebrate a tradition called "hody" in the late summer or early fall. In my home village of Jehnice, this usually happens in September.

"Hody" is a time to celebrate the abundance of family, friends, and food that we have been given. Back in the old days, this would represent a time when all the farmers would unwind after a busy season of harvesting. Nowadays the tradition is still honored as a group of village residents dresses up in traditional folk costumes and leads a parade through the village.

Initially, it starts out with only the guys. They start walking around the streets of the village to retrieve their women. One by one, they go to each ladies' home and knock on their doors, asking to retrieve the hats that they "accidentally" left there. As each young lady comes out, the whole group sings and dances. The group then hangs out by each house for a while, dancing and celebrating, while the young lady's family provides plenty of refreshments in the form of slivovitz (plum brandy), wine, and fresh home-baked pastries or snacks.

After all of the ladies have been gathered, the group heads to village square and local pub to keep the party going until late in the evening..or early the next morning. :-)

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