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UNESCO Intangible Heritage – Verbuňk

photo:  (unesco-czech.cz)

The UNESCO World Heritage Site List includes not only tangible cultural monuments, but also the intangible heritage, i.e. traditions and phenomena from all over the world.

The Czech Republic boasts several entries in the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Slovácko verbuňk dance was added first in 2005, and in November 2010 the Shrovetide processions with masks in the Hlinecko Region and falconry, which concerns another ten countries apart from the Czech Republic, were also added. The last tradition added to the UNESCO List at the end of 2011 is the Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov.


The male verbuňk dance is characteristic for the region of Slovácko in the east of the Czech Republic. Its name is derived from the German word Werbung (enlisting, recruitment) and it originated from the enlistment of young men to military service. In the old times, the dance was the farewell of a conscript before leaving for military service. The dancer thus compensated the considerable psychical strain arising from the pending life-changing experience, while it also demonstrated that he is capable of the service and allowed him to show off in front of the girls.

Although the dance does have an approximate framework, it is largely dependent on the improvisation skills of the dancer. The most usual dance figures are skips, jumps, twists, knee bends and the clapping of hands. In order to perform the verbuňk perfectly, the dancer must be a good singer, master the local dialect, be well informed about the repertoire of the songs and have a good sense of movement and orientation.

The dance is performed solely by men accompanied by folk music and is a part of ceremonious processions and traditional folk events, which includes feasts such as fašank (“Shrovetide”), vintage, etc.

Author: Romana Kuncová
Added: 07.04.2012

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