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JOSEPH BANNER-GEORGE MESTER

THE FOLK-TRADITIONS AT EASTER

AND AT LENTIN-TIDE WITH THE GERMANS IN ELEK

 

The authors deal with the traditions at Easter and at lententide in Elek, an insular settlement in south- east Hungary. The customs at lenten-tide-peculiarities of which are staying away from the public and big communities-have been preserved fairly well with the Germans in Elek up to our days. First the authors deal with the meals at lenten- tide and emphasize the striking strictness of fasting (complete abstaining from meat and fat), and, though they point out a certain influence of the local Greek Orthodox Rumanians as to the strict fasting they suspect original ancient traditions. They enumerate the most characteristic meals at lenten-tide and finish up this part of their paper with the presentation of the complete fasting at God-Friday. Later they take up the customs in Elek at lenten-tide, wich deserve the grea-test attention: this is collecting eggs in the middle of fasting, called mitr in dr fast. On the third Wednesday of the lenten-tide the lads prepared a puppet bringing out its masculine character, and with this, after dark-while singing songs with traditional words-they asked for eggs from families of marriageable daughters.

From the eggs they made scrambled eggs in the home of one lad from the group and enjoyed themselves till late at night. They strung the egg-shells on a rope and on their way home they hung the string on the statue of a fountain standing on the main square or on the nearby trees. Also couples celebrated the middle of the lenten-tide and the children in the afternoon, too, and lately even the big girls have joined the celebration in some places. Today only the older generation is keeping up this custom. The autors have suceeded to take some photos at one of such ceremonies 1961. Next they examine the development and the changes of this custom, then analize the words and varieties of the song sung at this time.

In the next part tyei make us acquainted with the folk-traditions on Holy-Week. These-like the other traditions at lenten-tide and at Easter-are related to the rich harvest, fertility, the health of people and animals, and thus are an integral part of the traditionworld of the winter solstice. In connection with the eminent days of the Holy-Week the authors write about the different prohibitions and regulations for work, the suppositions about the weather and other traditions, like that of the blessed willow twigs being able to prevent troubles. Then they write about painting eggs on Holy Thursday and giving them away; in connection with it they write about several child-games. For the children in Elek the Easter-bunny brings the eggs on Holy Thursday. Holy Friday is almost entirely a prohibitory day.

Connected with the religious ceremonies in the morning of Holy Saturday is the so called „Burning of the Jews", in the course of wich they burn the old crumbling tombstones in front of the church and take home some of their charred parts an some ash, which would prevent illnesses and corruption. In the evening they a Ressu-rection procession.

The most important customs of the Easter-holidays are the praying at daybreak under the open sky, following this going to the cemetery and slaughtering hens eraly in the morning as well as the cult of the Easter dew in the morning of Easter Monday. Sprinkling, which is wide-spread in Hungary, is also a fashion in Elek, but after examining the changes of this custom the authors have stated that this cannot be looked upon as one of the original traditions of the Germans in Elek.

 

  
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