http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/00564

Ride of the Kings in the south-east of the Czech Republic

Inscribed in 2011 (6.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Czech Republic

Identification

Description

The Ride of the Kings moving through the town.

The Ride of the Kings takes place during the spring, as a part of the Pentecost traditions, in the towns of Hluk and Kunovice and the villages of Skoronice and Vlčnov. A group of young men ride through a village in a ceremonial procession. The ride is headed by chanters, followed by pageboys with unsheathed sabres who guard the King – a young boy with his face partially covered, holding a rose in his mouth – and the rest of the royal cavalcade. The King and pageboys are dressed in women’s ceremonial costumes, while the other riders are dressed as men. The entourage rides on decorated horses, stopping to chant short rhymes that comment humorously on the character and conduct of spectators. The chanters receive donations for their performance, placed either in a money box or directly into the riders’ boots. The King’s retinue returns home after a few hours of riding, and celebrates in the evening at the house of the King with a small feast, music and dancing. The practices and responsibilities of the Ride of the Kings are transmitted from generation to generation. The traditional paper decorations for the horses and the ceremonial costumes, in particular, are made by women and girls familiar with the processes, colour patterns and shapes specific to each village.

Documents

Decision 6.COM 13.13

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:

  • R.1: A symbolic rite of passage ritual for young unmarried men, the Ride of the Kings is a socially cohesive event recognized by the community as part of its intangible cultural heritage;
  • R.2: Inscription of the Ride of the Kings on the Representative List could foster interest in analogous rituals practised in neighbouring countries, helping to promote visibility and awareness of the significance of the intangible cultural heritage;
  • R.3: Proposed safeguarding measures reflect the commitment of the communities, museums and institutes, local governments and the State Party to the maintenance of this cultural expression;
  • R.4: The nomination demonstrates the enthusiastic and active participation of the wider community in its elaboration and includes their free, prior and informed consent;
  • R.5: With the consent of the local communities, the Ride of the Kings was included in 2009 on the List of the Intangible Assets of Traditional and Folk Art of the Czech Republic, maintained and administered by the National Institute of Folk Culture.

Inscribes Ride of the Kings in the south-east of the Czech Republic on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Slideshow

Video


© © 2010 by National Institute of Folk Culture

These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website