Folk Culture and the City of Prague
The Regional Department shall primarily monitor the living folk culture in the city of Prague. Attention is paid both to the relics of the traditional folk culture and to purely current phenomena. The elements of traditional folk culture survive in the cycle of annual ceremonies although modern society departed from the agricultural and religious stages of the year which constituted this tradition. The central line of feasts and ceremonies survives (Christmas, Shrove Tuesday, Easter, Beltane, Kermesse, All Souls’ Day, etc.) although the customs and traditions associated with these feasts take new forms. Many have changed, some perished, others have been revitalized recently to gain new importance. Family ceremonies accompanying human lifecycle and connected rites (births, weddings, funerals) have gone through remarkable changes, too. They are strongly influenced by the modern lifestyle and the individualising process in society.
The culture of Prague as a European metropolis has significant specific aspects that take part in forming its municipal cultural heritage and derive from the structure of inhabitants, especially the high extent of assimilation when more than half of the residents have their origins elsewhere. The ways of establishing social relations and urban communities, where secondary relationships (organizations, associations) replace the primary ones (family, neighbourhood) have a significant impact, and did so in history, the folk culture in Prague. Furthemore, fragmentarization is another aspect differing the municipal cultural environment from the village. The City of Prague Museum, namely its Regional Department, does not lack documentation of the areas which these social aspects reflect. Attention is paid to spontaneous and informal manifestations of current culture and day-to-day life which show the potential of group or generation anchoring of values. Present cultural diversity of a metropolis is defined by various subcultures (generation, profession, interests, music, etc.) and national and ethnical minorities which create and share their own cultural values and living folklore.
Remarkable material proofs of the traditional folk culture in the city also exist, for instance in architecture. Several sets of traditional folk village architecture occurred in the city when it expanded and annexed the neighbouring, originally agricultural villages. There are two village preserves in the city – Stodůlky and Ruzyně – with an intact urbanistic structure and surviving folk structures, and several preserved territories of village national zones – Královice, Stará Hostivař, Buďánka, Střešovičky, Rybáře settlement in Troja, Bohnice, and Ďáblice. Individual buildings and small sets of folk architecture exist in other parts of Prague.