Location: Roztoky (near Prague), Czech Republic
Date: Saturday before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Christian Lent period
Shrovetide in Roztoky consists primarily of the procession of masks that starts in the city and continues to find its peak on local hill called Holý vrch. This hummock serves also as its meeting place with two other processions from neighbouring villages (Únětice and Suchdoly). All these three shrovetide processions firstly engage there „in combat“: their bear-masks compete and challenge each other in playful manner, after which follows their reconciliation in circle dances. The final merry-making takes place again in Roztoky.
The event started about 20 years ago with few enthusiasts with their passion for traditions, music, art and culture. It gradually evolved into celebration that nowadays attracts 5-10 thousands of visitors, although its organization is still mostly based on volunteering and devotion of local people.
„Why we do it?
Because it is working.“
Despite the fact that it follows the basic patern of the traditional form of shrovetide processions and customs (read more about one example of the traditional and long-lasting shrovetide in Hlinecko), its participants claim that it is a living tradition drived and powerd by energy and fantasy of the local community. The old shrovetide customs may be its backbone, but its vital organs and limbs are created every year anew and its function is made to be suitable for contemporary society and modern man. Probably its most distinctive feature is that everbody can be part of it and step in the process: either professional artist preparing masks or performances months ahead or ordinary family with children and home-made costumes – it does not matter.
Radio Vltava – interview with the representatives of Roztoč association (czech)
Radio Free Europe – photo report (english)
“My surreal Day at Masopust”, article by Ryan Campbell (english)
Youtube video from 2017
Facebook video from 2019