The Wendish Research Exchange

Wendish Folklore Portfolio 4. WALKOWANJE - The Egg Rolling

mersiowsky - 7-22-2014 at 08:51 AM

4. WALKOWANJE - The Egg Rolling
Translated by Elmer Hohle

On Maundy Thursday or also first on the Feast Sunday itself, the children would present themselves before their god-parents to receive the Easter gift. It consisted of a number of colored eggs, a large brown gingerbread cake, and a 30 centimeter-plus long iced roll, with poppy seeds sprinkled on it. The bakers prepared extra of these for Easter. Sometimes they were also dressed up with a piece of fabric. Children under one year old received raw eggs as presents - an echo of ancient fertility sorcery, according to which the inherent growth-power of the egg was transferred to the recipient.

Once the gifts had been received, the Rolling began. It was a children's game, in which the grown-ups also participated in earlier times. In good weather it was held in the garden or in a meadow on the first day of Easter. They playing field was a pit dug in the garden or meadow approximately one meter long. It slanted from ground level at one end to about the depth of a spade on the other. It was about one meter wide. The first player would take one of the eggs he had brought along and would let it roll down the inclined track. The next player would do the same, but would also try to hit the previous egg. If he was successful, the other egg also belonged to him, or - as was the usual practice, he received the gift of a piece of money...a penny in olden times.

The one who scored a hit was allowed to remove one of the eggs, and if playing for pennies, he would try again and again until he failed to hit an egg that lay in the pit. At that point his egg would also remain the pit, and the next player would try his luck. Thus frequently a multitude of eggs would be lying in the pit. For, you see, it was difficult to calculate the path of the track, and the eggs would stagger off to the sides. Once all the eggs of the players lay at the bottom of the pit, the game would begin anew.

In former times the Rolling was popular in many ares of Germany, and was even forbidden here and there. To the present day, this custom of rolling eggs has survived only in the vicinity of Muskow forest meadows.

(The Wendish section also adds): In the Sebastiane Grünera area the writings of J. W. von Goethe inform us: "From Easter eve until the 3rd Easter day, they shoved multicolored eggs down upon the ground. Whoever hit another's egg with his own, won possession of that egg." To the present day, this custom of rolling eggs has survived only in the vicinity of Muskow forest meadows.