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The Sorbs

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 April 2012 at 13:03
From Culinarna Germany:
Quote Between the Spree Forest and Lausitz Bergland, the traveler enters a different world. Place and street signs are bi-lingual, and the inhabitants greet you with a cheery "dobry dzen!," which roughtly means "Good day!"
This is the home of the Sorbs, the slavic people with the smallest numbers, and supposedly the smallest race in Europe. They once made the Spree Forest cultivable and also helped Count Puckler to construct his country park in Muskau.
Some 60,000 members of the western Slavic race preserve theri own language and culture as well as cuisine in the Oberlausitz, Saxony and Niederlausitz, Brandenburg. With their colourful regional folk costumes, with the splendid bonnets, and their folk festivals, they have made their mark on the whole region.... This is a unique multicultural phenomen for Germany, when one thinks that the Sorbs ("Serby," "Serbya") have never been protected by their own state broders. Yet for more than a thousand years they lived in a largely peaceful manner with their German neighbours....
The Sorbs are also known for their fantastic Easter traditions, and also the Bird's Wedding:
Quote Today most Sorbs are Catholic or Evangelical, which is reflected in their rich culture - the Easter rites for example, or the Bird's Wedding, a children's festival which is celebrated on January 25th, predominantly in the Bautzen/Kamenz/Hoyerwerda area. As on Saint Nicholas's Day, the children put plates on the window sill or outside the door. The magpie and her bridegroom, the raven, then put candy on the plates, especially sroki,  little magpies made from milk dough rolls with sugar frosting and raisins for eyes, as well as baked birds' nests and merungue birds....Later in the day, the children dress up as birds or wear their traditional costumes and celebrate a wedding...[complete with] a Sorbian wedding breakfast...with numerous typical hearty regional dishes.
Regarding Sorbian Easter customs:
Quote Hot wax, goose feather quills, knives, fire and corrosive acid - are these really used for decorating innocent white hens' eggs? The Sorbs use them, and with wonderful success. Sorbian Easter eggs are amongst the most exquisite products of German folk art. Tradiitonal decorations are geometric and symmetrical patterns. Rows of triangles are known as "wolf's teeth." Lines radiating out from a circle are known as a "pin wheel" or "bundle of rays." More recently flowers and sprays, names, greetings and short proverbs are applied to these oval symbols of fertility.
No two eggs are alike. This is enusred quite simply by four different production methods: etching (with a goose quill and hydrochloric or nitric acid), delicate scratches (with a knife or file), the colourful wax reserve technique (the egg is subjected to several colour baths, with wax being applied in a pattern to more and more parts of the egg's surface) and the wax embossing technique (where wax remains a decoration on the already-dyed or natural-coloured egg). Visitors can admire every aspect of this splendor in the round at the Easter Egg Markets in Kamenz, Weisswasser and Bautzen.
The Oberlausitz has not just acquired its reputation as the "Easter country" because of the art of painting eggs. The Easter rites are equally famous. On Easter Sunday, in the Catholic Sorb area, nine processions wend their way between Bautzen, Kamenz and Wittichenau to bring the neighbouring parishes the news of the Ressurection of Jesus. Up to 1300 riders in frock coats and top hats set off, proceeded by bearers of the church banners and the cross. The horses coats shine under embroidered white silk trappings, garlands of flowers and braided manes and tails. The bridle is sewn with white cowry shells or mussels. The tradition of the Easter procession is based on the pagan tradition of beating the bounds. It still takes place in Ostro, early on Easter morning, and so even on Easter night many Sorbs steal through the woodsand fields with a "carbide gun." The deafening noise made by the home-made shot fired from an old tin can containing some carbide, and with a rubber lid will surely drice away even the most obstinate evil spirits.
Typical Sorbian recipes include components for the Sorbian wedding breakfast such as Sorbische Biersuppe, Mohnkuchen and Rindfleisch mit Meerrettich.
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