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Author: Subject: Wendish Folklore Portfolio 1. PŘAZA - The Spinning Room
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[*] posted on 7-22-2014 at 09:09 AM
Wendish Folklore Portfolio 1. PŘAZA - The Spinning Room

1. PŘAZA - The Spinning Room
Translated by Elmer Hohle

October, when the fruits of the field were safely gathered, and as Fall's fog enfolded the forest meadows and the little villages in its gray garment, marked the beginning of the fellowship time of the young people in the activity of Spinning.

The proud goal of every maiden, upon receiving an acceptable proposal, was to bring a white linen fabric to her marriage. On October 11, the Farmer Worker's Celebration Day, marked the origin of the Spinning Room. At 5 pm the unmarried girls over 16, with spinning wheel under their arm, rushed through the village and assembled in the lower planked room of a farmer who awaited their arrival as his guests. By the dim light of a pine wood fire, later by candle light, the quiet whirring of the spinning wheels began. Dexterous fingers pulled the strands from the flax. They were spun into fine or coarse threads (according to the skill of the girl doing the spinning).

Along with the hard work, the Spinning Bee was also an occasion for happy socialization and fellowship. Soon there was the sound of old folk songs, sung in harmony by the musically talented maidens. Furthermore, the telling of fairy tales, legends, and current village happenings made the time fly. The old folks sat on the oven bench, eaves-dropping on the happy activity going on, or else reminiscing about their memories of prior village happenings from their past. Soon a fragrance wafted through the entire house, because the farmer's wife was baking tasty flour pancakes in the kitchen. They were made of meadow grain or even wheat. About 9 pm the young fellows would slink around the house and managed to gain entry. Songs, games and dancing concluded the first night of Spring. But thereupon followed weeks of serious work, to which the young men were not admitted.

The Spinning room activity usually ended on a Saturday with a closing night. To symbolize the conclusion, a young man, with all kind of buffoonery, would stick his sword or spear through a spun skirt. It was called the "Spin sticking." Thereupon the jovial activities concluded with eating, singing, and continuous dancing. As an amusement, the "white horse riders" would make their appearance. These were young men in disguises who would perform all kind of stunts for the spinning girls' entertainment. Despite numerous prohibitions from the landowners, this spinning room activity remained throughout the past century. It finally died out when flax-farming vanished from our fields.

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