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Moments from the Ride of the Kings Parade in Czech Republic

The traditional Ride of the Kings Parade took place in Kunovice, South Moravia, Czech Republic on Sunday.

Ride of the Kings has a long tradition. It is a custom of pre-Christian origin.

Ride of the Kings Parade

Ride of the Kings Parade

The first written mention of the event in Kunovice dates from 1897 and is also inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Riders on ornamented horsebacks take to the streets as part of the celebrations.

The Ride of the Kings Parade is preceded by a religious service and the approval of the Mayor, followed by the preparation of the costumes and decorations for the horses and riders, which are made by the women of the villages, according to traditional colors and designs unique to each place.

The Ride of the Kings Parade, is a spring festival that is celebrated at the Pentecost, in Moravia, the south-east of the Czech Republic. Celebrations take place in the region historically known as Moravian Slovakia.

Ride of the Kings Parade

Young men between the ages of 15 to 25 participate in the ride. A young boy between the ages of 10 and 15, whose face is partially covered, holding a rose in his mouth is designated "King". This year, 11-year-old Adam Hlavac (pictured above) received the honour.

Singers and an honour guard with unsheathed swords, whose objective is to protect the "King" are part of the Ride. The King and his groomsmen are dressed in feminine costumes, while all the other riders wear masculine clothing.

Participants of the Ride of the Kings ride through the village for a few hours, sometimes exchanging witticisms with the crowd before returning home. They then meet at the "King's House" for music and dancing later in the evening.

Ride of the Kings Parade

Ride of the Kings Parade

Ride of the Kings Parade

The Ride of the Kings Parade was an integral part of the Feast of Pentecost until World War II. It has since then largely become a social event.

Numerous origins are believed to be behind the Ride of the Kings Parade. It is associated with various historical tales including one that involves Matthias Corvinus dressing as a woman to flee from a disastrous battle, and myths such as the search for the "King of Barley" in Haná.

The Ride of the Kings is celebrated annually in the village of Vlčnov (population.3,000), every three years in Hluk (population.4,400), every two years in Kunovice (population.5,500), and occasionally in Skoronice (population.550) as part of another festival called the "Slovácký rok" (Slovakian Year).

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