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The Olomouc Carnival

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Horní náměstí, Olomouc, 16.2.2019 from 09:00 till 16:00

Visitors of Olomouc can look forward to a traditional carnival taking place at Horní náměstí (the Upper Square) on Saturday February 16th. The programme includes carnival procession, musical performances of Haná (ethnographic region with Olomouc being in its centre) folk ensembles, acrobats and jugglers, drinks, hog-killing specialties and other traditional carnival products.

The carnival is traditionally celebrated in between the two big fasts of Christmas and Lent. It has always been a time rich on dances, weddings, or zabijačky (hog-slaughtering - a rural tradition when the whole extended family comes to the same place, slaughters a pig/pigs, and spends time collectively making use of every bit of the animal for various food products; it is often connected with festive work as it involves eating the ready products and drinking of alcohol in tight 'friends and family' circle during the work, and having a party after all the work is done).

The masks that appear the most frequently during the carnival procession are a bear (sometimes collared and led on a chain), a two-person mare costume, old crone with a back basket, a chimney sweep with a ladder, and many others.

The carnival is connected with oily and fatty meals. It is said that people should eat as much during the carnival as to last for the whole year. Another traditional carnival food are koblihy (Czech doughnuts). Written references to carnivals in Bohemia and Moravia can be traced to the 13th century, although the tradition itself is considered even older.

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