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Harvest Festivals

Harvest Festivals from Around the World

    Czech Republic Harvest Festival

    The Czech Republic has two harvest festivals. The first one is a church festival called the Posviceni.

    The second one is called Obzinky. After the harvest has been completed, farm workers make wreaths of rye, wild flowers, straw or ears of wheat. These wreaths are placed on the heads of the girls. Then they go to the owner of the land and place a wreath on his head. Then they all join in a dance and feast. Then the wreath of the owner is placed in an honorable place until the next harvest.

    They then eat a dish known as Sauerkraut and a cake called Kolache.

    Posviceni church harvest festival is a service held to give thanks to God for a good harvest and also for asking God to bless the grain.

    There are many folklores associated with the harvest such as, the amount of food reaped in the season could mean the difference between wealth and starvation. Harvesters would sometimes roll on the ground before a harvest for two reasons: they believed the direct contact with the soil it was believed gave them the strength to work long hours; as well the number of rolls represented the amount of sheaves, or bundles of harvested grain that they rolled into the barn when the work was completed.

    It was also believed that the last sheaf of grain gathered has the power to both heal and to bring fertility to households and the farm. Parts of the sheaf were to be woven into the wreaths and given to a new bride and groom or then be placed in a new mother's bed to make sure that the child came into the world safely. They were also hidden in hen houses to make then hens lay more eggs. Grains from the last sheaf harvested were saved and planted with the first seeds sewn for the next spring as a guarantee of a bountiful harvest.

    One Czech harvesterís tradition leave a single shock of wheat standing in the field once the harvest is complete. This last shock is tied up with ribbon or straw cord and is called the boroda, which means "beard". This was done as way to provide food to the field mice so as they had food and would not go into the barn for grain during the winter.

    A second tradition was that the last ear of grain to be harvested would be tied with ribbon into a sheaf and then decorated with wildflowers. This was called a dido, meaning "grandfather". This was then taken into the landlord's home and remains there until after Christmas. This was done to bring good luck to the household.

    In other areas it is called a baba or "old woman". The sheaf is dressed as an old woman and carried into the landlord's home, where it is displayed until Christmas or until the next year's harvest.

    A third tradition is that at the end of the harvest, harvesters make a large wreath from the last sheaf of grain, interwoven with wildflowers and ears of corn. The wreath may also as tradition has it, be placed on a pretty girl's head for the procession to the landlord's home, or as is done now, the home of the farm manager. It may also be placed on a pole or wagon and taken throughout the town.



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