During the centuries until present time a minority, the Sorbs/Wends, is living in and around Cottbus. They also brought their own culture, customs and traditions with them. In the course of time some of these traditions and customs changed or even got lost but fortunately the Sorbian/Wendish background of many customs has been kept alive so that they are still today widely spread. Also according to different locations they might differ a bit.
Having been suppressed for centuries in Prussian Lusatia, the maintenance of their traditions and customs was a very important aspect for the Sorbian peoples' self-preservation. In the 1930s and 1940s they experienced an active process of "Germanisierung” by the Nazis who among other things prohibited specifically the use of the Sorbian language or Sorbian services. As a result the number of native speakers decreased (they had to speak German now) and furthermore in massive losses in culture.
Nevertheless, nowadays you may find women wearing their everyday Wendish costumes in the villages around Cottbus. On special occasions even young women and girls are presenting their festive day costumes.
Although many Sorbs are Christian today, most of the customs are pagan-originated. Very often you can find them around the Christian festivities as for example Easter or Christmas time. Other traditions attribute to events of the farmer's year. Here customs as Zapust (Wendish Shrovetide), the Easter fire and the Maypole erection can be mentioned. Moreover there are customs during the harvest time such as "Hahnrupfen" (cock plucking), "Hahnschlagen" (cock beating), "Stollenreiten" (riding competition to get fruit loafs) or "Kranzstechen" (wreath stabbing).
D - 03046 Cottbus
Ms Anna Kossatz
D - 03046 Cottbus