Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Five-petalled Rose festival - part 1

This weekend, as it's done for years, Cesky Krumlov is host to its biggest party of the year. Thousands of people descend, and for three days they feast, play and make merry. The occasion celebrates the town's historic roots, and its past aristocratic rulers, the Rozmberk family. So the locals as well as the visitors dress up in period costumes, and the town theatre organises historic-themed entertainment that takes place in several venues, but mostly at the Town Square where various ensembles show off period dance, music, swordsplay, clowning etc etc, much of it interactive - and the most interactive bit is a huge costumed parade through the town's cobbled streets, complete with drummers, horses, carriages, 'aristocrats', peasants, musicians, and even beggars. Then there are markets, pigs roasting on spits in the streets, and the inevitable sausages and beer. And mead - the fermented honey nectar passed down through the generations of local brewers.
The mood is fabulous - and despite the enormous number of crowded visitors, there seems to be no stress, no litter, no drunkenness, at least not until the early morning hours, and even then just fun and benign - something our current English visitors have been commenting on with genuine puzzlement. 'Maybe they don't put chemicals in their beer', they said, shaking heads. But I think that it's because everyone comes here to enjoy themselves, the sun is shining, there's plenty of food and entertainment to find wherever you go, and if you get tired, you can always go and take a swim in the river like the locals do.
This is the eight's Rose festival for us, and it is always the highlight of the year. We are having a fabulous time, and recommend it heartily to anyone who hasn't yet been. Next year Krumlov will celebrate its 700 years' anniversary, so it should be an even bigger event

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