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Traditional Husbandry in the Northern Area of the Little Hungarian Plain. The Villages Farkasd1 and Negyed



The Hungarian agricultural ethnography has achieved recognition not only at home but also in Europe. Thanks to its research methods it presents the forms of farming in the folk cultures from a modern aspect. These research methods, which got established in the 1980s, examined peasant farms according to their production and consumption. The aim of the project, called Traditional Husbandry in the Little Hungarian Plain, was first of all to examine farming in the first half of the 20th century. The project was launched in 1987 and the examined villages were the following: Guta, Leled, Vasárut, Farkasd and Negyed.

This volume contains the outcome of the ethnographic research that was accomplished in the villages Farkasd and Negyed in 2000-2001.

I. The examined villages

In the first half of the 20th century agriculture and animal husbandry and especially vegetable cultivation were characteristic for the traditional husbandry in Farkasd and Negyed. In the following we are describing the development of farming in these villages before and after 1945.

I.a Social relations in Farkasd and Negyed

Farkasd and Negyed are villages with noteworthy historical traditions. The fact, that they had been located at the boundaries of three hundreds (Pozsony, Nyitra, Komárom) for many centuries also contributed to this. The happenings of the 20* century caused a number of changes in the historical development of the examined villages and consequently some branches of the traditional husbandry changed here, too. As a result of the political and the administrative changes both the villages belonged to the Czechoslovak Republic between 1918-1938 and then to the State of Hungary between 1938-1945. Since 1945 they had belonged to Czechoslovakia and since 1993 they have been the part of Slovakia. Farkasd and Negyed have always been close neighbours and today they form a unity as there is no natural boundary between them. At the beginning of the 20 century in Farkasd there lived 5386 inhabitants in 895 houses, in Negyed the number of people living in 825 houses was 4478. According to the results of the census in 2001 Farkasd has had 3394, Negyed has had 3177 inhabitants. Until 1945 almost the entire population of both villages was of Hungarian nationality. According to the records from 2001 there have lived the following nationalities in Farkasd: Hungarian 72,42%, Slovak 25,45%, Czech 0,23%, Roma 1,70%, other 0,20%. In Negyed the composition of the nationalities has been the following: Hungarian 62,39%, Slovak 31,09%, Czech 0,35%, Roma 5,95%, other 0,22%. As for the religiousness the villages resemble each other. Until 1945 the Reformed were in majority but there lived also a great number of Catholics there. Apart from these the Israelites made out 4-5% of the inhabitants, the Lutherans and the Greek-Catholics formed together 1% of the inhabitants. But after 1945 there could be noticed a significant change in the religious composition in Farkasd and Negyed. Most of the Slovaks who settled down here in 1947 were Lutherans, the Hungarians, on the other hand, who were resettled in Hungary, were predominantly Reformed. As a result, it were the Reformed religious communities of the villages that decreased the most significantly, and a new community was forming, that of the Slovak Lutherans.

The majority of the population in Farkasd and Negyed was involved in agriculture. Most of the families earned their living from this branch. In the first half of the 20th century the rate of those working in the agriculture was still very high, i.e. 78-80-82%.

Lb Ethnographical description of Farkasd and Negyed according to their traditional husbandry

While we tried to characterize the folk culture in the villages Farkasd and Negyed we concentrated on those traits that have been significant for the lifestyle of the living population until today. Apart from the agriculture and the animal husbandry it was vegetable growing and trading that brought fame for these villages also in remote places. The manifoldness of folk culture in both the villages is unique, so it is not surprising that so many researchers have been interested in them in the recent decades. There are also some mocking-poems about the typical methods of husbandry of the villages, in which the people of Farkasd are called "the onion-people" and the people in Negyed "the cabbage-people" by the inhabitants of the nearby villages.

In Farkasd there was carried out research by the Hungarian ethnographic atlas in the 1960s and by the Slovak ethnographic atlas in the 1970s. The collection (artifacts, written documents, photographs) of the Museum of National Geography in Galanta also contributes to the documentation of the folk culture in Farkasd and Negyed.

I.c Traditional husbandry in Farkasd and Negyed according to the archives

Farkasd and Negyed have always belonged to the important villages in the area between the river Vág and the Small Danube. Between the societies of these two villages there has only been a partial different. Until the first half of the 19' century in Negyed there lived socagers, Farkasd was occupied partly by socagers and partly by noblemen. The names of the villages Farkasd and Negyed were first mentioned in the official document No. 1113 signed by the abbey in Zobor. In the 12th and the 13th centuries fishing was very extensive in both the villages. According to an official document from 1206 fruit growing was carried out in one part of the fields in Negyed, called Almaszeg. There are more records about the farming methods of both villages from the 14th century on. For example, letters of hypothecation, sale and tenancy contracts, inheritance and agricultural statistics, documents settling socager duties (1769) etc. Not later than the 16th century vegetable growing, especially the cultivation of and trading with onion, garlic, cabbage and parsley was a widespread economic branch in Negyed and Farkasd. The first written data of vegetable growing in Farkasd is known from 1653. As both villages possessed only few pieces of the fields until the end of the 19th century grain growing was not characteristic here. In Negyed and Farkasd there were mainly pastures and meadows in the fields and this brought about the spread of cattle breading. Besides that the bread of stud was prevailing in Farkasd, too. In the stamp of this village there could be seen two horses prancing on both sides of a tree from the beginning of the 19th century. In the stamp of Negyed there was depicted a cabbage-flower and a cabbage as early as the second half of the 17th century. At the time of the first census of the Hungarian population (1784-1785) there were counted 346 houses and 2445 inhabitants in Farkasd. At the same time in Negyed there lived 927 families, i.e. 2612 people in 371 houses. In 1794 Farkasd became a market-town where four markets could be held a year. As for the economic development of Farkasd and Negyed there were more intrinsic changes only by the end of the 19th century. The regulation of the watercourse brought about the change of the characteristic features of the fields in both villages. The village people began growing cereals more extensively, but vegetable growing did not loose its importance either.

I.d Environmental conditions in Farkasd and Negyed. The use of the fields

The fields of Farkasd and Negyed are formed by flat hills. The area is 109-112 meters above the see level and it used to have a water-flooded, marshy soil. It was threatened by floods caused by the rivers Feketevíz and the Kis-Duna very often. In the fields there is still a dense system of water-trenches and feeders. In the last centuries the river Vág had changed its water-bed very often and that is why it had an influence on the shape of the intra- and extravillan area of Farkasd and Negyed.

As for the use of the fields we dealt especially with the geographical names in the intra- and extravillan area of Farkasd and Negyed. Geographical or place-names are those, which people give to natural formations so that they could orientate themselves in their habitats more easily. Geographical names the tapogató, a basket without a bottom, and the lepő, a basket-shaped frame with net covering on a long handle, were also used. The hand net, the fishing satchel and the boat were used as auxiliary fishing-devices.

III. Animal husbandry in Farkasd and Negyed

In the first half of the 20th century animal husbandry became very intense in the villages of Farkasd and Negyed. The factors that contributed to this were: the intense vegetable growing, the selling of the products on the market and the exchange of goods. Within animal husbandry the most extensive branch was horse breeding, because strong and fast horses were needed to get to the remote markets. On the other hand the horses could be kept from the profit of the vegetables which the farmers sold on the market. Horses were also used for agricultural activities even at the turn of the 19* and the 20th centuries. The use of the force of the cattle was pushed into the background. As for the horses the farmers preferred their own propagation. The most common was the Nonius breed of horses, but frequent and beloved were also the half-breed, the light weight and the warm-blooded horses.

As far as the cattle are concerned cow breeding was dominant, because these animals were the most beneficial. The Hunagrian cattle were pushed into the background relatively soon and fast at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Apart from its propagation the cow was also kept for its force, but already at the end of the 19th century it was very rare that the cow was harnessed. Pasturing animal husbandry was also known in Farkasd and Negyed, but it gradually lost its importance, especially in Farkasd, as there were only a few pastures there. In Negyed on the contrary the bigger pastures remained in the lower lying fields and the herd stayed from spring till autumn there. The young animals from farms in Farkasd were also kept there and in two other villages, in Gúta and Szericsárda. The last one was part of the village Alsószeli. The young bullocks, after they got stronger in the herd during one or two summers, were yoked and the farmers tried to sell them in pairs, because their price was higher in this way. In both villages the farmers drove their animals to those pastures which they were authorized to according to the size of their estates. It was the shepherd from the local area, hired by the village council, who took care of the herd. Old shepherds also knew how to cure an injured or sick animal.

Apart from the propagation of the cow its milk and manure were also profitable.

Pig breeding and poultry keeping supplied the nutrition necessities of the families in the first place. Only few farmers of large estates were involved in cow breeding and fattening. Each family cut one or two pigs a year for its own need. In the first decade of the 20th century the whole stock consisted of the lard mangalica pig. In Farkasd 15 percent of the pigs were well-fleshed. This village had always been outstanding in animal husbandry and domestication of the new breeds. In the 20s and 30s the lard mangalica pig was gradually replaced by the light-furred well-fleshed pig.

Within poultry-keeping every family kept hen for its own need, but duck, goose, donkey and mule were not to find in either of the two villages. Goat and sheep were also rare; they were not significant in the first half of the 20th century.

There were no outstanding scythe-men working in the fields of Farkasd and Negyed. The people from both villages went regularly to the village Gúta in order to participate on the auctions of the huge village meadows. At the beginning of June the people in Farkasd and Negyed gained money from the early potatoes. The scythe-men from Gúta were paid from these earnings. Apart from hay, sewed rough fodder was very important in Farkasd especially. On big farms lucerne, clover and the mixture of oat and vetches was regularly cultivated. These were supplemented by fodder-plants as second seedling-crops (thickset dry stalk, Hungarian grass and fodder beet) and by the secondary products of grain growing (grain semolina, maize semolina, barley straw, husk and maize-cob). The processing techniques of fodder reached a high level in the villages. In the 1930s using an electric chaff-cutter was by far not a rarity on the farms. The horses got a mixture of barley, oat and grain to which vetches and clover were usually added. The pigs were fed on small potatoes that could not be sold on the market and they also got grain and barley semolina. In autumn, in addition, maize semolina was added to the nutrition of the porkers.

The stall with an attic was attached to the house and in the middle of the room there was a separate entrance from the farmyard. The mangers were arranged on both sides of the stall where the animals were placed with their hindquarters to each other. Both the cattle and the horses were usually kept in the same stall: the horses on the one side and the cattle on the other. In the first decades of the 20th century in Negyed there was also an ancestral tradition for sheltering the cattle for winter. These shelters were called folds {aklok in Hungarian), which were placed in the fields opposite to the intravillan area of the village on the left bank of the river Vág. The folds as well as the stalls were buildings with mud walls made of reed and they also had attics. After the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the sheltering of the cattle for winter moved to the stalls on the village parcels. Keeping the cattle in folds became less significant. These changes were brought about by three factors: (1) animal husbandry became more intensive, (2) there were changes of the strain, (3) the breeding of those animals, which were not used for work became less characteristic. The last fold was pulled down around the World War II.

IV. Agriculture in Farkasd and Negyed

In the first half of the 20th century the cultivation of the arable land was almost the only source of living for the inhabitants in the villages Farkasd and Negyed. The holders of large farms cultivated cereals, root crops and fodder-plants in the first place here. Vegetable growing gained in importance among the owners of middle sized farms, and in Farkasd it was almost as extensive as the cultivation of cereals, root crops and fodder plats. In Negyed vegetable was cultivated in first place. The small holders earned their living from vegetable growing and exchanging goods.

The soil was cultivated according to its type. Those areas which were often water drenched provided a soil of good quality. People from these areas still remember that in the first half of the 19th century there was still some land made fallow. In the first half of the 20th century three-course rotation was frequent. At the beginning of the 1900s the cultivation of the land was carried out with halved timber plough, which was gradually replaced by the iron plough from the beginning of the 1920s. In larger farms double-furrow ploughs were introduced at the beginning of the 1940s. After tilling the land was made smooth with wooden cogged, and later on, from the 1930s, with iron clogged.

At the beginning of the 20th century the agricultural crops were still sown manually. The drill appeared in the 1920s, but in the case of some crops (e.g. barley) and also in water drenched areas sowing manually was more general even in the 50s.

In the first half of the 20th century the reaping of cereals was carried out exclusively manually. The implements of manual reaping were the scythe, the bag with the devices (iron stake, chuck made of wood, cow horn or tin, whetstone, hammer, sickle, a wooden device for binding sheaves, a big and a small rake). Manual reaping was carried out in groups of three people: the scythe-man, the picker and the wire-baler. The holders of small and middle-sized farms carried out the reaping themselves. In Farkasd and Negyed the holders of big farms hired harvesters, who were picked exclusively among the village people. They also helped at the transporting of sheaves, stacking and thrashing and as salary they received the 10th or 11th portion of the crop. The harvesters, who received a piece of land for cultivation, were called "portion-harvesters", because at harvest they got one third of the maize or potatoes, which were cultivated there. Before the reaping the "portion-harvesters" tied a small bunch of wild flowers and ears on the arm of the farmer. In this way they paid tribute to the farmer. After the reaping the harvesters, while singing and reciting poems, gave a self-made reaping wreath to the farmer. Subsequently the farmer invited the "portion-harvesters" to a feast. It was very typical that the poor and the smallholders from Farkasd and Negyed earned their provisions of cereals for the whole year by working on remote large estates.

In the first half of the 20th century rye was thrashed manually. The poor thrashed their 1-2 sheaves of cereals manually with a flail. Then the cereals were sifted and ventilated. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the cereals were still pressed by horses, but from the beginning of the 20 century horse-driven thrashers were applied. Subsequently the thrashed corn was ventilated by a hand-operated trommel. Steam-driven thrashers appeared already around the WW I. In the 1930th there were 12 thrashers in Farkasd and 10 in Negyed. They were owned by local holders of large estates or some associations. However, thrashing by the steam-engine was gradually pushed into the background because of tractors (FORD, HOFFER) which appeared in the 30s. Thanks to their fly-wheels these could drive the thrasher more easily.

The thrasher did not only thrash the crops, it also cleaned and assorted them. Finally the crops were gathered in sacks. The hay was carried to the stack by the elevator. The chaff and the cavings were kept separately in a room, called pelyvás in Hungarian. It was a reed-wall building and it stand in the back of the farmyard. The holders of small and middle-sized farms kept the thrashed cereals mostly in the attic poured out or put in sacks. The holders of larger estates stocked the cereals according to their types in separate compartments, called hambár in Hungarian, in the store. The surplus of crops was sold to the local buyer-up.

Among the root crops the biggest part of the arable land was used for the cultivation of maize. On one hand it was used as fodder, on the other hand it provided nutrition for the family. Especially the early types of the maize were grown. After the WW II especially two kinds of maize were cultivated.

Catch-crops were cultivated on the maize and the potato lands. The different kinds of bean, fodder-pumpkin, sunflower and seed-hemp were sown into the maize land. Cattle turnip was sown among the early potatoes. Poppy-seed was also cultivated as a catch-crop and the farmers sowed it among the carrots.

Fodder-plants were very often grown as second crops or they were sown into a soil where the autumn sowing was eroded by the water. These fodder-plants were e.g. lean, oat, millet and clover. The trefoil kinds were not only excellent fodder-plants they also improved the quality of the soil. After the tillage they were replaced by grain or cabbage.

Among the industrial plants only the cultivation of hemp was noteworthy in Farkasd and Negyed. The village people grew it for their own need on little parcels of good quality soil around the village. The processing of hemp used to be a very demanding activity. After it was steeped, dried and broken, yarn was made of it. The whole family was involved in this process by the division of labour. For scotching the hemp and for combing it with cards women were hired for season work regularly from the villages around the area of the town Nyitra. Mostly they were paid with money but sometimes they got hemp for their work.

The cultivation of other industrial plants was not extensive either in Farkasd or in Negyed. Nevertheless on larger farms there was grown some sugar-beet but not in great amounts. After the World War II it also became obligatory to grow other kinds of industrial plants apart from the sugar-beet, e.g. the tobacco-plant, but the farmers did not like to cultivate them.

V. Vegetable farming in Farkasd and Negyed

The environmental conditions were highly decisive in the development of vegetable growing in the villages Farkasd and Negyed. In neither of the villages were used the gardens near to the houses for the cultivation of vegetables. It was more likely to grow them in the fields as the quality of the soil was good enough there. The most important characteristic features of this soil were that it was wet enough because of the nearby anabranches of the river Danube, because of the river Vág and the ground water. Near to the rivers there was eutrophic alluvial soil which was almost never dry. Apart from this the floods created thick silt on these fields so that the soil became convenient for the cultivation of cabbage and of other vegetables. In Farkasd cabbage and carrot growing had the greatest importance, in Negyed the most important crops were cabbage and onions. Apart from cabbages in both villages there were grown carrots, parsley, onions and new potatoes on large scale. The village people were famous for them not only in the area but also on remote markets. In both villages almost everybody grew vegetables. Those who could not afford to be landowners shared or hired a piece of land. The vegetable seeds were grown by the farmers themselves. Cabbage seeds were even offered for sale on the markets in the towns Komárom, Újvár and also in the nearby villages.

Cabbage was cultivated the most extensively. The seedlings were raised in the seed-beds of the field-part, called Palántás (at the lake Csingi in Farkasd and on the bank of the river Holt-Vág in Negyed). The seed-beds were manured with dust-turd each year. The manure was dug into the soil and the farmers made sure that the soil was loose enough. If the soil was dehydrated enough, the farmers sowed the cabbage seeds manually on 19th March (name day of Joseph). The seedlings were watered by women with wooden cans. When the plants were already developed, they were planted one after the other (600 seedlings on a land of 100 fathoms) usually at the beginning of June (in the week of Medárd). The cabbage seedlings were tied into bunches and they were brought to the market. The cabbage land was usually hoed twice and finally it was weeded. The farmers in Farkasd and Negyed cultivated the early and the late types of the white cabbage. The autumn cabbage was ripe in October, and all the adults and even the elder children in the family were involved in the gathering. The ripe cabbage heads were cut with a big knife and put into a pile. The outer leaves were cut off with the hoe and were given to the cows. The stalk was picked out of the soil in spring and then it was dried and used as burning-material. During winter the cabbage-heads were stored under hay in the stable.

The first day for sowing the carrot and the parsley seeds was the 19 March. Until the 1930s it was carried out manually, but later on some farmers sowed the seeds into rows with a drill. This implement was made by a local craftsman. After sowing the seeds were treaded into the soil. When the plant came up, it was thinned for 5-6 cm, and then it was weeded more times. The carrot land was never watered. The plant was dug out after the harvest (the biggest part of it was collected in October) and then it was brought to the market. From parsley the farmers cultivated the half or the quarter of the carrot" s amount. The vegetables were sold tied in mixed bunches or they were pitted if they could not be sold. The pits were situated next to the houses on the farmyard or in the garden. As for their size they were of 5-6 m length, of 50 cm width and they were two spades deep. In a farmyard there were 15-20 such pits. In spring the vegetables were already sold for kilo-prices, not in bunches.

The cultivation of onions was also of great importance. Onions were grown by everybody. Those, who did not possess land, worked for a farmer. The farmer normally gave them 100-200 fathoms of land which was sown with onion. The onion seeds were also sown and treaded into the soil around the name day of Joseph. If the plant came up very tight next to each other, it was thinned and then weeded several times. It was not watered. Usually in August when it was already ripe it was collected with a little spoon and then it was spread out on the farmyard to dry. Mostly, the onion was exchanged for grain. In winter it was spread out in the attic. When it became cold outside it was put into piles and covered with a sheet. Sometimes it was also tied in ropes and stored like that. The cultivation of garlic was not significant.

In the first half of the 20th century potatoes were of great importance in Farkasd and Negyed. In sandy-soiled areas there was grown much of it. It was sold early in the year and it was a significant source of money for the local inhabitants. The most favourite type was the pink-eyed potato and less important was the yellow potato. In autumn the soil was ploughed before the potatoes were sown. In spring the soil was processed with a big harrow (fogas in Hungarian). The potatoes were sown into small holes according to the weather either at the end of March or at the beginning of April. When the stalk of the potatoes was 8-10 cm long, the whole potato land was hoed. When the stalk was 20-30 cm long, the potatoes were earthed. The new potatoes were collected from June till August and they were offered for sale in the nearby as well as in the more remote towns. Those potatoes which were used in winter were usually left in the soil until autumn. Beans, pumpkins and cucumbers were cultivated among the hoed plants in the arable land. Tomatoes, sugarpeas, cabbages, spinaches and kohlrabies were planted in small amounts in the vineyard. The cultivation of green pepper, tomatoes, cauliflowers, red cabbage etc became more significant after the World War II.

VI. Viniculture and fruit farming in Farkasd and Negyed

The environmental condition of the fields in Farkasd and Negyed are not appropriate for the cultivation of grapes. That is why viniculture has never had grate importance in these villages. In Farkasd wine was grown in the field-part called Pásztorik until the beginning of the 1930s. In Negyed there were wine-yards on the one side of the river Vág, in the field-parts called Sziget and Kortona and also in the South-Western part of the fields, called Nádas. Each farmer had 8-10 wine-stocks here. The farmers cultivated the following types of grapes: Dalaváré, Ezerjó, Fehér otelló, Fekete otelló, Frankóka, Izabella (dorgódi), Kadarka, Mézes fehér, Muskotári, Oportó, Piros dalaváré, Rizling, Százszoros. Engraftment was not applied, the farmers let the new wine-stocks grow root. The vintage was guarded by the hired hayward, who was paid with grain, brandy, grapes or occasionally with money at harvest. In the wine-yard there were small hovels of reed where the implements were stored and it was also used as shelter if the weather turned bad. In order to be supplied with water, the farmers digged wells in the wine-yards. The harvest for which the whole family gathered was mostly at the end of September. At first the grapes were separated according to their colour so that white and red wine could be made. The picked grapes were grinded and then pressed out. The farmers added no sugar to the must and from the marc they made grape-brandy. The wine was stored in casks, which were made by local wine-coopers. There were no wine-cellars either in Farkasd or in Negyed. The casks were put either into sheds or into cellars which were digged out under the straw-stacks. The wine was coopered in order to clear it from its sediments twice a year, in December and May. The farmers had approximately 4-7 hectoliter wine a year. It was never sold, it was only made for self-subsistence. The people from Farkasd never bought wine from the inhabitants in Negyed. They bought wine predominantly from the local pub-keepers who brought this alcoholic drink from the towns Pozsony, Bazin and Limbách.

There were fruit gardens in the flood-plain of the river Vág in the fields of both the villages. Here the farmers owned a number of fruit-trees according to the size of their farms, so a farmer usually owned approximately 7-10 trees. In Farkasd there were fruit-trees even in the wine-yard in the field-part called "Csűcs dűlő". In Farkasd two holders of a large-farm had large fruit gardens. Here the endemic fruit types were: apple trees {bőralma, húsvéti rozmaring, nemesóvári alma, őszi ranét, üvegalma), plum trees {besztercei, duráncai, szotyolka, szőlőszemű, ringlota), pear trees {kálmánykörte, buzáraérő, árpaérő), cherry trees (according to the season of ripening there were early and late types), morello trees {cigánymeggy), apricot trees {nagymagyar, sárga színű), peach trees (apró szemű). In the wine-yard there were nut trees, currant and gooseberry bushes and blackberry along the roads. Fruit-trees were rarely sprayed with insecticide, but in spite of this they had sometimes lived for even 60-70 years. To have new trees the farmers mostly used young trees that came up from seeds. In the 1930s both in Farkasd and Negyed there was a nursery-garden where the farmers could buy grafted plants as well. The crown of the older trees was pruned once a year. The trunks of the trees were lime-washed even three times a year. In winter the trunks of young trees were protected by reed so that hares could not chew on them. The soil around the fruit-trees was weeded. During the time when the fruit was ripening the farmers hired a paid hay-ward to watch the crop. Finally the crop was gathered into big goose-baskets and it was transported home on harvesting-waggons. Fruit was grown for self-supplying purposes, the farmers did not trade with it. Occasionally they shared it with the neighbours or they brought it to the market in Szímô.

In Farkasd and Negyed the growing of the honey-dew melon had a grate tradition and this type of melon was also an important plant in the rotation of crops. Black soil was the best for melon-growing. In the fields of Farkasd there was black soil in the parts called Buffa and Nádnyilas, in the fields of Negyed there was black soil in the parts called Csóványos and Tószád. The growing of the honey-dew melon was an excellent source of money for the self-supplying smallholdings and for artisan families. According to the size of the farms the farmers sowed honey-dew melon normally on 500-1000-1600 square feet of soil annually. There came up 100 centners of melon on 1000 square feet of soil and the price of this amount was as much as the price of 200-300 centners of barley. In the 1930s and the 1940s there were melon-farmers in both Farkasd and Negyed who were growing honey-dew melon in the nearby villages: from Farkasd the people went to Hosszúfalu and the people from Negyed to Anyala, to Perbete or to Farkaspuszta next to Bajcs. In the first half of the 20lh century in Farkasd and Negyed there were cultivated several types of the honey-dew melon: parasztdinnye (zöldpántlikás), kandaluk, cukordinnye, koronás végű (zöldbelű). Water-melon was only rarely found on the fields, but from the 1950s it was cultivated more frequently. Only the melon seeds of the most delicious melons were used for the next sowing. At the end of April, on Saint George Day (25th April) women and men sowed the seeds together. The melon-bed was accurately weeded during the growing period. The crop had been watched by the melon-ward. He belonged to the family who owned the melon-bed. The melon-ward stayed in a self-made hut and from June on he watched the plants day and night. In July the melon began to ripen. It was picked 2-3 times a day and farmers stored it 3-4 days long in the hut. When there was enough melon for a waggon-load the farmers brought it to the market. Rotten melon was fed to the animals. In the time when the melon was ripening the melon-ward kept poultry and pigs in the fields, if there was a feeder near to the melon-bed. After the day of Lőrinc (10th August), the quality of the melon was not appropriate anymore. The rudimentary crops were brought home and they were fed to the horses, the poultry and the pigs.

VII. Production and consumption in the popular nutrition of Farkasd and Negyed

In the first half of the 20* century the production and consumption of the traditional self-supplying peasant farms was determined by the level of farming. And the level of farming, on the other hand, was dependent on the geographical and climate condition of the area, on the type of possession, on the structure of the local society, on the local manners and the view of life, on the traditions and, finally, on the inter-ethnical relations in the villages. The typical determinants of the production can especially be demonstrated with the help of popular nutrition. As for farming the villages of Farkasd and Negyed specialized in the cultivation of plants, especially in vegetable growing. On the one hand farmers supplied their own need with their products. On the other hand they either sold most of the crops which were cultivated in monoculture or they exchanged them for other plants that they did not grow themselves. Thriftiness was a characteristic trait of farming in both the examined villages. The farmers calculated the amount of the agricultural products, the products from big animal breeding and poultry rearing that were needed for a person a year very accurately. The rest was used in the procedures of farming, it was exchanged or sold.

In the first half of the 20th century meat consumption was not significant in Farkasd and Negyed. The village people predominantly consumed meal made of flour and vegetables. According to the statistics from the last third of the 19th century the amount of meat consumption is to be called average in the Northern part of the Small Hungarian Plain. Meat was eaten only on market-and feast-days. On the peasant farms the main source of meat was the pig. The meat and the products of the pig were mostly consumed in winter. Until the 20th and 30th of the 20th century the mangalica pig was bred, but then it was replaced by the Western type, i.e. the fallow type of pig. Pig sticking took place after the name day of Andrew (30th November) in winter time. Until about the 1940s in Farkasd and Negyed the pig was cut in two pieces along the both sides of its spinal column. Cutting the pig's spinal column in two was established later. The farmers used every part of the pig and apart from meat they made chitterlings, mush, sausage, bacon, greaves and adeps from it. The products were preserved by curing, smoking or they were fried and then put into a jar together with the grease. After the pig sticking crambe, called takart, and aspic were always made in Farkasd and Negyed. The peasant cooking got acquainted with the other courses made from pork, like Wiener schnitzel, rissole etc, only after the 1940s. In summer the village people usually consumed chicken, in autumn they ate duck or goose. Eggs were used as ingredients. In Farkasd and Negyed beef was eaten on Sunday evenings and the meat was mostly bought from the local butcher. As for the use of animal products, especially those from cow breading, i.e. milk and home-made dairy products (curd, butter, cheese-curds, sour cream and whey) are important to mention. The meat of wild animals was served rarely, because hunting was organized only occasionally.

From the second half of the 19th century the collecting of plants found in the nature became less characteristic. As for popular nutrition, though, the consumption of cereals and vegetables was very typical. Bread was the most important part of the popular nutrition in both the villages. For making bread the village people used mainly grain. Rye, maize or barley were used as make-do-solutions in times of war or deprivation. The main ingredient of pastry was wheat flour. In Farkasd and Negyed boiled, baked, leavened and unleavened pastry was prepared. Among the stirred, boiled pastry dumplings, called nokedli, were made at feasts until the 1940s, but later on they were also eaten on weekdays. The best-known ingredients of the mush were barley and millet. Later on they were replaced by potatoes, maize and rice. There was a type of cooked pep, called ganca in Hungarian, which was prepared by mixing water with millet, maize or potatoes. For seasoning the village people used cheese-curds, grease and dried fruit. The pastry type sterc (browned flour-pep) was made either of flour or of potatoes. The stirred and baked pies were flourishing in the first decade of the 20th century, for example, the málé and the görhöny (cakes of maizeflour) and the kőttés (pastry made of grain-germ). In spring, summer and autumn the peasant nutrition consisted predominantly of vegetables and fruits. Vegetables, legumes, cabbages and the savoy cabbage were used for making thick soups and soups, the latter ones were prepared with roux or with scrambling. The following meals were also often eaten by the inhabitants of Farkasd and Negyed: a kind of soup made of savoy cabbage, called kelkáposzta, a soup made of tomato and cabbage, called paradicsomoskáposzta, the dish of beans, the dish of potatoes and the dish of rumex and spinach. Cabbage was preserved by acidulation, tomatoes were bottled.

Fruit was mostly consumed fresh. Pear, apple and plum were preserved by desiccation. In the first half of the 20th century the plum was the most-liked fruit, it was made to jam in grate amounts. The making of apricot jam just like the bottling of fruit got established in the 1950s. The spices, e.g. salt, sugar, pepper, caraway, bay-leaf, marjoram etc, got into the households through trade, but the village people cultivated red pepper themselves. Honey was a very popular sweetener in the popular nutrition of the 20th century.

As for the week menu, pastry was eaten on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, respectively sometimes on Saturdays, too. On Tuesdays and Thursdays thick soups were served. Meat was consumed on Sundays.

On holidays, like baptism, wedding, Christmas and Easter and during important activities, e.g. harvest and thrashing, the menu was served according to the traditions.

VIII. Exchange of goods in Farkasd and Negyed

In the first half of the 20th century the inhabitants in Farkasd and Negyed, who were very adventurous, played an important role in the inter-trade of the Small Hungarian Plain. Until the World War I it was more advantageous to travel by boat between the examined villages and Budapest on the rivers Vág and the Danube. The most frequent means of transport was a small boat, the barge. At the beginning of the 20th century the number of barges was said to be between 30 and 50 in Farkasd and 80 in Negyed. Trading by float-boat was very frequent on the rivers Vág and the Danube. The people from Farkasd and Negyed distributed their goods to the villages which were at 4-5 km distance from the river bank. After 1918 the borders between Hungry and Czechoslovakia changed and this brought about the ceasing of the trade by the float-boat. Trading, marketing and the exchange of goods moved to the public roads. The road conditions improved more and more and that is why village trading began flourishing. It spread, later on, through the whole Northern part of the Small Hungarian Plain. The exchange of goods was carried out almost the whole year long, except if the winter was very cold or there were urgent activities to do, just like planting in spring, harvesting and thrashing.

In the first half of the 20th century the inhabitants of Farkasd and Negyed traded with different crops. In the crop year the first important income of the family was gained from the sale of the new potatoes. They were picked at the end of May or at the beginning of June first and they were sold for a good price mostly in towns. In the same period of the crop year the village people were also trading with cabbage seedlings. In the summer period they sold melon in the nearby villages and in Pozsony. The most important exchange-product of the fields in Farkasd and Negyed was the onion that was exchanged for grain in the village Csallóköz. In September and October late potatoes were also exchanged or they were brought to the market. They were cultivated in grate amounts in both the villages. The peak-season of the cabbage and the vegetables was late autumn. In this time of the year carrots, cabbages, parsley and onion was brought on waggons to the markets where they were bought for winter storage. On market days 30-40 waggons left the villages in the night or early at dawn. Those goods, which could not be sold in autumn and were stored in pits, like carrots, parsley, potatoes and onion, were picked over in February. Then these goods together with one or two casks of pickled cabbage were put on carriages or on float-boats which could carry a load of 10-15 tons each. The village people brought the goods to the market or to the Danube region for exchange.

The surplus of products was sold by the farmers at home, in Farkasd and Negyed. The poultry was bought by the man who was trading with hen, called "tyúkász", the small geese were sold to women from the town Pered and the eggs to the consumers' co-operative, called Hanza. The local Jewish traders or the butcher bought up the young calves and the cows. In the first third of the 20th century there were product markets and stock-markets in Farkasd five times a year. There were approximately 30 tents at the market where drapes, ready-made clothes, shoes, kitchen equipment, toys, sweet stuff, crockery etc was put up for sale. There was also a roundabout, a swing-boat, a shooting-gallery and a ferrotype there. According to the memory of the village people, at the beginning of the 40s there were only some tents and a small number of women selling pots and other kitchen equipments on their mats on these village-markets. In Negyed, instead of markets, the inhabitants held a church-ale connected with a market once a year.

Traders from remote areas also came along with their products in Farkasd and Negyed. From early spring to late autumn Slovak floaters delivered pine branches to the depositories in Negyed, Gúta and Komárom on the river Vág. They also carried wood, devices from wood (e.g. carriage-beams, thripples, stakes, instrument hafts, oars to the barges, steering-oars, ladders etc) and if it was on order they also stopped in the villages on their ways. Pear-sellers, basket-makers and potters came on carriages mostly from the mountain- and hill-areas in the North. The window-makers transported the window-glass in wooden bins on their backs and they carried out the ordered repair where it was needed. The tinker and the knife-grinder came several times into the villages. From spring to autumn an all-seller used to come to the villages who was called the bosnyák. He sold clothes (caps, scarves, socks, underwear etc) and other "thousand trinkets" like pocket-mirrors, combs, shoelaces, needles, buttons, clinch-buttons etc.

Selling and buying at the market played a very important role in the husbandry of both villages. In Farkasd and Negyed hay was one of the import products. The village people regularly bought hay in Gúta. Mosty they went to the nearest markets in Pered and Gúta, but occasionally they also went to Galgóc, Pöstyén and Nagyszombat. The horses which were too old for work were sold to the gypsies on the market. Piglets were bought in Gúta-Kissziget, Pered, Farkasd and Negyed, or even on the markets in Nyitra and in other towns.

IX. The main characteristics of farm possession in Farkasd and Negyed

1. The structure of farmsteads in the fields of Farkasd and Negyed

Agriculture had been the main source of living for the inhabitants of Farkasd and Negyed for many centuries. The characteristics of the fields determined the method of the cultivation. According to the statistics from 1895 the fields of Farkasd consisted of 3934,14 hectares land where there were 911 farmsteads. In Negyed there were 747 farmsteads on 3458,76 hectares land. The environmental conditions in both the villages differed slightly from each i t is 70-80%, was smaller than 2,85 hectares. The rate of those fanners who cultivated a land of 2,85-5,7 hectares was 13-16%. 6-10% of the farmsteads had a size of 5,7-11,4 hectares, on 2-3% of the land there were farmsteads of 11,4-28,5 hectares and finally, there were -only a few large farmers who owned a land of 28,5-57 hectares or even more.

2. The structure of peasantry and the types of peasant farmsteads

The agricultural activity and production in Farkasd and Negyed was significantly carried out on peasant farms of various sizes in the first half of the 20th century. The arable land, the agricultural implements, the force of the animals and the man-power were essential for the families running farms.

As for the size of the farms in Farkasd and Negyed it can be stated that most of the families owned small parts of land, i.e. a land from some 100 to more 1000 fathoms. Those who did not possess land earned their living by working on the local large farms as day-labourers, seasonal workers or they helped at harvests for a portion of the crop. The vast majority of the peasant families owned miniature-farms. On these farms the peasant families cultivated only a very small piece of land (from some fathoms to 2,85 hectares). The peasants grew exclusively horticultural crops on their possessed, hired or shared pieces of land. These crops were exchanged for grain or they were sold for money in the nearby villages. Another group was the type of small farms. Here the peasants owned a land of 3,99-4,56 resp. of 5,7-8,55 hectares and they possessed a horse and a cow. The peasants were mostly involved in gardening.

The group of the middle-sized peasant farms was also quite representative as for the number of these farms. The owners of such farms cultivated an arable land of 11,4 hectares. There were 2 horses and 2-3 cows in each of these farms. The farmers bred calves and foals for selling. The amount of grain that was grown on he possessed land was enough for the family during the whole year, so that the vegetables were not taken to the market but they were sold together with the melon in great amounts. The large farmers also cultivated much vegetable (potatoes, melon, onions, cabbage etc) and they carried the crop to the purchaser on barges or by train.

As for the spatial occurrence of the farms in Farkasd and Negyed most of them was placed in the intravillan area in the first half of the 20th century.

Most farms consisted of possessed arable land but sometimes they contained hired land, too. The peasants could run a farm even without owning the house on the farmstead. The children who were self-sustaining as for their production and consumption lived together with the parents in a separated part of the house. In both Farkasd and Negyed there were pieces of land of outstanding quality which were no houses built on, but each foothold was cultivated. As for the production implements the yoke-power was essential. The most basic agricultural implements (plough, barrow, brake-harrow and big harrow) were used even on the miniature farms. Small-holders also owned a waggon and a sleigh, the holders of middle-sized farms disposed of a trammel, a seed-drill. Large farmers possessed even a thrasher.

On the family farms the men-power was provided by the members of the families themselves. A family was able to a cultivate a land of 5,7-11,4 hectares on their own or with the help of the relatives. For the cultivation of middle-sized farms there was needed some additional help so that a servant was employed throughout the whole year and usually also a couple of harvesters. On large farms there were at least two servants and two couples of harvesters.

As for the branch and the method of production it was the agriculture that definitely prevailed in Farkasd and Negyed in the first half of the 20th century. Besides animal husbandry the inhabitants made their living mostly from cultivating grain and vegetables. Grain was grown nearly on the two third of the land in the fields, vegetable growing was carried out on other fields nearer to the villages. On large farms the growing of cereals, root crops and fodder plants was the most significant. On middle-sized farms the cultivation of vegetables was of great importance, it was even more characteristic than the growing of cereals, root crops and fodder plants. Small-holders, on the other hand, earned their living from vegetable growing and from exchanging goods. For the peasant farms of various sizes in Farkasd and Negyed being self-sustaining was of essential importance. Apart from this the production of goods, the use of the money and the market played a very important role. For the economic development of Farkasd and Negyed it was a very important factor that, apart from the nearby village Kamocsa on the left bank of the river Vág, they were the only villages dealing with vegetable growing to such an extent in the whole region. Consequently they could sell their products even in the nearby villages where they offered their products cheaper than on more remote markets. It has also to be considered that the composition of the crops grown in Farkasd and Negyed had changed only insignificantly during the last centuries. New vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, cauliflowers, kohlrabi turnips, cucumbers) were first introduced as a result of the foundation of agricultural co-operatives in the 1950s. The use of the chemical fertilizer spread also in these years. In the co-operatives it was partly also the traditional crops that were cultivated, so that the characteristic types of vegetables are to be found on the local farms in Farkasd and Negyed until today.

Compiled by: Izabella Danter

  1. All the place-names that occur in the text are in Hungarian. For their Slovak equivalents see the Hungarian-Slovak list of place-names, [the translator's comment]



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