The Grand March: A Czech and German Institution
The following is an edited presentation given by Lori at the Texas Folklore Society 2019 Meeting.
Have any of you attended a Texas Czech or German wedding somewhere in our Lone Star State? These weddings are notorious for being a huge production (as large as 1,400 guests). Most of them have an unforgettable amount of food, drink, and hours of dancing that include homemade klobase, kolacé, pivo, and the Grand March. What is a Grand March? Well. . . line up and follow me through some cultural insights while you learn about the Grand March folk dance ritual that is still going strong today. A Grand March is a procession that opens a formal dance or a wedding dance. Although its origins are not quite clear, Texas Czechs have embraced the tradition for generations. While being led by an experienced couple, this dance promenades participants in various formations. At weddings, the dance symbolizes the bride and groom beginning their new life together with family and friends. I reached out to multiple generations of dancers, musicians, and historians for their ideas and memories. Some folks responded on the safe side by stating that the origin of the dance was from the Czech lands, Germany, Hungary and/or Poland. You see, many of the wedding dances take place in Czech or German fraternal and social dance halls scattered throughout Texas that bear the names: Hermann Sons, KJT, SPJST, Sokol, etc.
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