The „matyó” folkwear is world famous. Some says, the „matyó” people are the descendants of King Matthias’ s Hungarian bodyguards, but the nickname actually can have other origins too. „Matyó”s live in a few villages around Mezőkövesd in Borsod county. Mezőkövesd is the „heart of the Matyóland”, but the nearby Tard and Szentistván are also notable settlements of this unique group of Hungarians. They belongs to the same ethnic group, as the „palóc” people, though the „matyó”s are strictly catholics as for religion, while „palóc”s are mostly protestants.

If the origin of their name really goes back to King Matthias, it can be also true, that their characteristic folk art was inspired by the Gothic-Renaissance styles of Matthias’ court. The magnificent costumes of the women, with lines of almost gothic delicacy, are richly embroidered. Though they use vivid colours as well, the aristocratic combination of white on black is the favourite. The women present a tall slender figure in their ankle length skirts, which flare out slightly at the bottom . The rich and colourful motives were designed and sketched by so-called “writing” (i.e. drawing) women, who wove the various flowers – most favored roses – of their gardens into their clothing. „Matyó” embroidery began to hit its prime in the 1860’s and 1870’s. This era brought the “festive room” to life, as houses were decorated with painted furniture, enamel plates, jars, bowls and high, richly decorated beds.

„It is no matter, if the stomach is empty, better to shine outside”- says the „matyó”s laconically. Actually „matyós” were always the poorest of the Hungarians, and worked as roustabouts, sometimes for 6-9 monthes far away from their home. At least their feasts they intended to make bright, and richly decorated everything in their homes – clothes, bedclothes, shoes, dishes, walls and furniture alike. The most famous piecework ot their traditional folkcustomes  is the „matyó pinafore”, called „surc”, which was worn even by men. According to the old legend, once the Devil captured the lover of a „matyó” girl, and as for ransom, demanded flowers. The girl was so poor, that she had not even had a garden, not talking about flowers in it. Woefully, but astutely she striked out to embroider flowers on her own apron to take out the sweetie boy from the hard durance. As a sign of tribute of the case, the colourful apron became an always worn  part of men’s folkcustom in Matyóland.

Matyó culture is on the nomination list of UNESCO World Heritage. The „Matyó” Folkart Association was established in 1991, and since then it has had the esteemed task of developing and passing on the beautiful folkart values of the Matyó people.