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Germany's Sorbs celebrate Zapust festival
Photo: Penny Bradfield

Germany's Sorbs celebrate Zapust festival

Published: 12 Mar 2010 14:29 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2010 14:29 GMT+01:00

The Sorbs, Germany’s small Slavic minority, recently celebrated Zapust, an important cultural festival in the Lausitz region near the Polish border. Photographer Penny Bradfield went to the village of Turnow near Cottbus to catch the spectacle.

Zapust, or Shrovetide, is one of the most popular Sorbian celebrations and it is deeply linked with the working life of the tight-knit community. Traditionally, the festivities would last one week before the spring sowing of the fields and would culminate in a procession.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Zapust procession.

Modern Shrovetide usually consists of a carnival and a parade. Young unmarried couples wear traditional dress – the women and girls in dancing dresses and the men and boys wearing flowers given to them by their female partners.

With musicians leading the way, the procession stops at the homes of distinguished villagers such as the mayor, who makes a symbolic donation to the Zapust collection box. In the evening, a dance is held.

Sorbs are a small Slavic ethnic group of about 60,000 people in the eastern German states of Brandenburg and Saxony. Traditions like Zapust are an important way to help preserve the Sorbian language and culture. The current premier of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, is the most prominent member of the Sorbian community.

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Your comments about this article

02:21 March 14, 2010 by wenddiver
They call themselves Wends in the US and settled by Serbin in Texas about 1845. The bell in front of Concordia University in Austin, Texas was drug by the Wends into the wildness by these heroic pioneers in 1845.

They are amongst the important early founding Fathers of the state of Texas and the and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (the conservative wing of the Lutheran Church in America). There is a Wendish Heritage Festival yearly in Serbin, Texas and Wends/Sorbs from the US, Germany and Australia celebrate their shared German heritage at that time with traditional foods, music, history and Lutheran services in Wendish and German.

Up to recently both the kings of Norway and Sweden claimed to be the "King of the Wends" in their official titles.

Just one more example of the influence of German culture on the US.
04:46 March 18, 2010 by Thames
Got to love the Sorbs.
13:32 February 2, 2012 by Banja Luka
Very interesting Serbian custom. It is good to know and see it.
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