"Kokot" – The cock

Many Lower Lusatian customs have a strong relationship to the end of the harvest time because the grain crop is the most important time of the year for farmers. Having a good harvest was decisive not only for farmers but also for the poorer people in the villages.

In former times people believed in animal-shaped spirits of fertility and fruitfulness. The cock, "kokot", was rumoured to have a strong effect on the harvest. At the end of the harvest the cock hid under the last sheaf to maintain its power until the next harvest time. This particular sheaf was decorated by the harvesters with colourful flowers and ribbons, while they shouted: "Zins jo kokot" (“today is cock day”). This shew that it was the final day of harvesting.

Of course, this day was celebrated with singing, dancing and plenty of drinking. Men got clipped ear bunches while the young women made harvest wreaths and a big harvest crown which announced the end of the grain harvest.

1"Łapanje kokota" – Cock plucking
1"Łapanje kokota" – Cock plucking

"Łapanje kokota" – Cock plucking

Cock plucking is the most common harvest custom in Lower Lusatia. A dead cock is tied up upside down on the top of a wooden gate which is decorated with green leaves.

Young men are riding one after another through the gate and try to rip the cock's head off. The one being successful is called "kral" (First King) and he will be honoured and celebrated. The next young men who are successful and grab the cocks's wings will be called the Second and the Third King. The three winners will be decorated with big wreaths made out of oak leaves. The kings who are blindfolded have the right to choose girls for their honouring dance.

Of course, also harvest queens are elected. The girls compete in funny games to show their skillfullness. These games include frog-carting or egg-racing, sometimes also bachelor-carting.

Finally the crowd walks cheerfully to the restaurant for dancing. The harvest crown is carried ahead, decorated richly with colourful ribbons.