Národopisný soubor a dětský národopisný soubor Vrčka

The folklore ensemble Vrčka

Česky

The folklore ensemble "Vrčka" was established in 2007. The original ensemble, which existed since 1993, was divided into children and adult parts. The ensemble keeps cooperating with the original ensemble and fully follows its previous history. It's associated young enthusiasts from the age of 15 from Šlapanice and the closest heighbourhood.

Every year it realizes a lot of performances for wide public at home as well as abroad. The repertoire of the ensemble is exclusively composed of original unaltered dances from the region of Brno and Šlapanice according to L- Bakešová and František Sušil's records. Together with the region of Brno we also cover part of South Haná (up to Nezamyslice and  as far as Moravské Klobouky to the east).

Our aim is not only the accurate original form when choosing dances and songs but we also try to keep the folk costume from Šlapanice and not to change its shape for the next generations.

A folk costume, clothes for folk classes especially from villages has its characteristic features shoving local belonging, age, sex and marital status. One of these features is so called "vrčka" that has given a name to our ensemble. The basis is made of sheet of metal 18 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, in the middle narrowed to the shape of a bone - so called "spoon". Around this metal shett a special hairstyle is formed by twining two locks. At the same time a wide red ribbon about 10metres long is braided into the hair.

 

Shrovetide

Seven weeks before Easter in Šlapanice we arrange Shrovetide which closes the ball season.

Ash Wednesday opens a seven-week Lent. In the past the celebration of Shrovetide lasted for five days. There were dance parties from Friday to Sunday; Monday was the day of masked parades. The masques were given a flitch of smoked meat, bacon and other goodies, these were distributed among the party guests on Tuesday, according to the word “flitch“ – “šrůtka“ in Czech, the party is called “Šrůtková“.

Shrovetide party (from Friday to Sunday) has its own specific rules which begin with ceremonial arrival of guests in traditional costumes. The procession is lead by the first “stárek“ (a young boy who is the master of ceremony) carrying a symbolic town law – a sword decorated with 365 roses. This young man hangs the sword on the ceiling and then together with other boys he claps his hands to show that the next dance is their solo. Other young men in traditional costumes (who are also called “stárek“) help him with the duty to bring everybody onto the dance floor. Since that time, if the music is not playing, no man dancer can speak to a lady otherwise he has to undergo a symbolic penalty under the sword. If found guilty, he is given a small drink of wine, a doughnut and then has to pay for the procedure.

The Tuesday party (called “Šrůtková”) also follows its own rules. This time a double bass is hanged on the ceiling and instead of men women dancers are not allowed to talk. Instead of wine under the double bass they drink a special drink of many colours and tastes (only those who have tasted can understand).

At midnight the party is closed by a funeral procession of the guests in traditional costumes and masques who bury the double bass. Nowadays all the Shrovetide customs are held only on Saturday – we are all working people and we no longer have so much free time as our ancestors had in the winter period.

Carrying out the Banshee

“… we’re carrying the Banshee dressed in her best.

What are we going to do with her?

We’ll drench her in water! “

On Passion Sunday (14 days before Easter) a procession of girls singing ritual songs start from the square headed by a girl who is carrying the Banshee – a dummy made of straw which symbolizes winter. For her last journey the Banshee is dressed in a festive dress with embroidered petticoats, with a scarf on her head and beads made from blown-out eggshells around her neck. The Banshee must be carried as far as possible – to the suburbs, then set on fire and thrown to the stream. The Banshee is taken away by water and can no more cause any harm. This is a symbol of leaving winter and coming spring.

Since that day girls started to graze geese.

Queenlets

A girls´ walk-about dance which is danced the 8th week after Easter, on the day of Holy Spirit. Procession is headed by a girl representing a king with a little decorated maypole who under a canopy accompanies the queen dressed in her best clothes. Singing, they walk through the town of Šlapanice and wherever they stop, they sing and dance the queenlets´ dances. The dance can be performed only by girls who have never dated a boy. The reason for this is that in most songs they make fun of boys. All the spectators are asked for a small amount of money for their “poor and crippled queenlet“. In the evening they can have a good time with the earned money.

Brno Region in Songs and Dances

Every June the courtyard of Brno Old Town hall is enlivened by traditional folklore festival Brno Region in Songs and Dances. Many performers of all ages in their traditional costumes take part in the programme. Especially the youngest attendants´ enthusiasm raises our hope that folk dances, songs and customs of the Brno region will survive into the future. Each year of this festival is devoted to one of the important anniversary in Brno ethnography. Ensemble Vrčka from Šlapanice first took part in the festival in the very first year of its existence (1993) – here also the name of the ensemble first appeared.

Šlapanice Festival

The tradition of the Šlapanice Festival is longer than 70 years. It is a folklore show held in mid-August (to celebrate the day of St. Mary’s Assumption to which the Šlapanice church is initiated). The part of the event is the reunion of Šlapanice natives and friends. The first festival was held in August 1932 and thus the wonderful tradition was established and except for a few breaks has been observed up to the present day. There are some accompanying events such as exhibitions of local artists, gardeners and farmers or summer night parties in the town park which are organized for the younger ones. On Saturday night everybody enjoys a party in traditional costumes with a brass band.

The most important festival day is Sunday. Every year the town streets are enlivened with a parade of people in rich traditional Šlapanice costumes and also costumes of other guests, sometimes the parade is joined also by 50 or 60-year old people. All the procession finishes at the town park where you can spend the whole afternoon enjoying a folklore programme. The festival is closed by Sunday dance party in traditional costumes accompanied by brass music.

Christmas programme

The aim of this programme is to depict the Christmas atmosphere of the old days through songs, dances and folk customs. In individual scenes we show preparations for St. Nicholas´ Day, punishing the housewife whose house had not been tidied on St. Lucy’s Day, many old Christmas customs and traditions, carols and shepherds´ songs.