Jízda králů / The Ride of the Kings

The Ride of the Kings from Moravian Slovakia is a unique tradition in the Czech Republic which is included in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list. You can experience it during the last weekend in May in several villages and towns in Moravian Slovakia and Haná. Only in Vlčnov, where it has a tradition dating back more than 200 years, is it held every year.

The tradition of the Ride of the Kings is shrouded in many legends. According to the most famous of these, the Hungarian king Matthew Corvin was fleeing with his retinue from the Czech king George of Poděbrady. In order to not be recognised and captured, he dressed himself in women’s clothing, veiled his face with ribbons and held a rose in his mouth.

The modern-day king is a young boy with a rose in his mouth and ribbons around his head. He rides into the village on a white horse and has his retinue dance to gain the favour and a gift from the onlookers. The whole village is caught up in the whirl of events, during which you can admire the luxuriant folk costumes passed down from generation to generation.

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