Sorbian customs and traditions
In the area around the city of Bautzen the traditional costume of the lutheran Sorbs as well as the traditional catholic costume is worn, depending on the religious denomination.
In everyday life the traditional costume is still partly worn by women over 60 years of age. On special occasions, however, many young women and girls put on appropriate festive varieties of the traditional costume. This is especially valid for family celebrations which are connected with a religious act in the church (e.g. christening, confirmation, wedding) and certain church holidays, such as Corpus Christi. In this way, the costume of lutheran Sorbs are becoming more visible again today.
All around Radibor and Storcha the catholic costume is worn.
Sorbian folk art groups in the region
Even though professional artists and ensembles, such as the Sorbian National Ensemble and the German-Sorbian Folk Theatre, are indispensable for sorbian cultural life today, amateur artists and folk art groups still play an essential role.
- choir “Meja” Radibor, founded in 1896
- choir “Budyšin”, founded in 1964
- folklore group “Sprjewjan”, founded in 1979
The youth ensemble of the Sorbian grammar school Bautzen, founded in 1949, consists of a mixed choir, a folk music group and a dance group. The Sorbian primary and secondary schools in Bautzen and Radibor each have a student choir. They mainly rehearse and perform sorbian songs. The professional artists of the Sorbian National Ensemble and the German-Sorbian folk theatre also have a collaborative effect in the schools of the region.
On your way exploring the region you will also discover interesting museums:
- Měrćin Nowak-House in Nechern
- Museum of “Korla Awgust Kocor” in Wartha
- House of thousand ponds in Wartha
Customs and traditions
Bird wedding – january 25th
Every year on january 25th the birds celebrate their weeding and all children join in the celebration. The magpie is the bride and the crow is the groom. And it goes like this: the evening before, the children put a plate on the windowsill or in front of the door. The next morning they can find sweets on it in form of birds made of dough and nests covered with sugar icing.
The custom says that in this way the birds thank the well-behaved children, from whom they were fed during winter times. Together they celebrate the wedding. Children, however, who have not fed the birds, do not get any presents.
In kindergarten or school children dressed up as birds to celebrate the bird wedding with singing, playing or parades. In some kindergardes the sorbian wedding costume is dressed. Well known is the programme of the bird wedding from the Witaj-kindergarten Malschwitz every year. The children show thereby in traditional costumes the wedding procession of lutheran Sorbs.
Annually the Sorbian National Ensemble rehearses a bird wedding programme for children as well as an evening programme for adults performed at selected locations in Upper Lusatia. The ensemble was founded 60 years ago and since then the bird wedding is a fixed part of the programme.
Traditional sorbian easter egg fair
The sorbian easter egg fair takes place in the house of the Sorbs in Bautzen each year ten days after Ash Wednesday and five weeks before easter. It is organized by the circle for sorbian culture association. Sorbian and german folk artists from Upper and Lower Lusatia show off the decoration of easter eggs in traditional decoration techniques.
Easter rider processions
The horse riders on easter Sunday are a well-known catholic custom. The processions have an increasing interest among guests from near and far, especially in modern times. Three processions you can find in the region of Bautzen: the Radibor riders ride to Storcha, the Storcha riders go to Radibor and the Bautzen procession also leads to Radibor.
The burning of witches takes place in the night of april 30th in almost all villages of the region. On the same day in some villages the maypole is build up, usually in the middle of the village. Another attraction ist the maypole throwing on one of the following Sundays in may. Usually it is a cultural programme with dancing around the maypole. Young girls dress up their traditional costumes. The children of the AWO-kindergarten “Knirpsenland” in Bautzen show the may tree throwing in the national costume of protestant Sorbs.
Every two years in summer Bautzen hosts the opening event of the International Folklore Festival “Lausitz/Łužica”. Folklore ensembles from all over the world as well as from Lusatia present a colourful programme to the audience.
The sorbian concerts in autumn performed by sorbian lay choirs have been a cultural tradition for several decades. In the region of the Domowina-organisation “Jan Arnošt Smoler” these concerts take place annually in Hochkirch, Bautzen, Dreikretscham and Radibor.