The direct translation to English of Hody appears to be, 'feast', or even, 'Harvest Festival.' My understanding of the celebration is not related to these terms. It seems to be a uniqely Moravian event, a celebration centring on three days of music, dancing and, dare I say, drinking.
It is impossible not to be charmed by the group of young people, individually known as 'starek', who play a significant part in the festivities. Athough it is said that they are involved in organizing the Hody, it seems that their main role is as hosts - serving wine and dancing with those that attend. Each Starek is partnered by a girl, both wearing traditional folk costume, which is brightly Patterned and sparkling. The girls look sweetly doll like with their stiffened skirts that stick out and their beautifully arranged hair.
It is inspiring to see the pride that these people take in celebrating this tradition. In England, perhaps due to pressure to conform to a particular look, it would be difficult to find individals of a similar age who would wish to dress in this way. It may indeed be that not all Moravian young people enjoy this role. However, from what I have seen within Krepice, many enjoy the tradition, perhaps revelling in the attention and the spirit of friendliness present during the event, recognisable in the way that family members, friends and young and old dance and celebrate together.
The role of starek may be seen as a rite of passage, as most seem to be between 18 and 22. It may also be an experience to share with friends, something to look back on in later life. I have wondered, to the consternation of some, if increasing Western influences will eventally lead to the decline of such traditions. Yet there seems to be a prevailing belief that such practices are more solid than the fleeting messages of commercialism. I hope this to be the case, as I believe such practices must be held on to. Why? Tradition for tradition's sake may be useless and even damaging. However, traditional celebrations such as the Hody and starek serve the purpose of bringing people and the past together. It is a feeling that is strangely familiar and wonderfully comforting, the feeling of being transported to a place within where you feel truly at home. Though such moments may be ephemeral, it is their fleeting nature that makes such events worthy of being cherished.