The Small-Carpathian Grape Harvest Festival in the 1970s – a Socialist Holiday of Collectivised Agriculture

Malokarpatské vinobranie v 70. rokoch 20. storočia - socialistický sviatok kolektivizovaného poľnohospodárstva

The annual public urban festival called the grape harvest festival, which was created in the 1930s as a marketing event aimed at supporting the sale of Small-Carpathian wines, was restored in 1958 after a period of recession during World War II. Following the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948, the ruling regime suppressed the original aim of the restored festival. After some formal and conceptual adjustments, the common and popular form of urban festivity became a means for the promotion of collectivised agriculture and the presentation of the successes of the socialist regime. The conceptual background of the three-day event moved from ritual-staged allegoric scenes referring to the traditional work habits of wine-growers to a manifestation form celebrating the work of socialist farmers. The thoroughly organised Sunday manifestation of workers marching down the main street of the town with political slogans, in front of a stand with state and Communist functionaries watching them, and the images on allegorical cars presented and celebrated the achievements of socialism. The same objective, but with a looser structure and contents reminiscent of traditional regional grape harvest festivals, was pursued by the festive part of the parade and by elements of the public entertainment forming the programme of the grape harvest festival. During the period 1958–1989, Small-Carpathian grape harvest festivals were organised regularly on an annual basis. The course of these festivals and the contents, controlled by the ruling regime, were reproduced with ritual consistency and programmatically focused on promoting the socialist regime. With respect to the reference period it can therefore be considered a socialist holiday.