The inhabitants of Hamry in the Chrudim region celebrated the carnival on Saturday. Masquerade parades, which are a regional tradition listed by UNESCO, have been held in the village since time immemorial.
However, even nowadays, masquerade parades have not turned into commercial events. There was music and dancing, but no stalls with hot punch, cakes for sale, or fairground trinkets. Still, there was plenty of food and drink.
The masqueraders, in order to bypass all the descriptive numbers in the village, set off before 8 am. First, they asked permission from the mayor, just as they did in the Austro-Hungarian era. It was only during the Second World War that the tradition was interrupted and only resumed in the 1960s. And not even the coronavirus disrupted it.
Preparations for the carnival in the village start already at harvest time. “Rye has to be cut to make skirts for the masks. Then the hall is prepared, the masks are repaired and replenished, and everything needs to be washed, ironed, and the treats cooked. Firefighters, their wives, we all help each other,” said Mayor Petr Stejskal.
Only men walk in the parade, and they are divided into black and red masks. There are chimney sweeps, straw men, Turkish men, and a woman. But Laufr commands everything. After all, he had to get up at 3:30 in the morning to get everything done and the tour started on time. It is the early morning meeting of the participants that is a carnival tradition in Hamry.
Mardi Gras was originally a three-day holiday. It is celebrated between Christmas and the Lenten season before Easter. This year, Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, falls on Wednesday, March 2.