"Pseza" - The Spinning Room

This is a name not merely for a room but for a group of women formed through working together.

The village's virgins met on every evening in the autumn after the harvest time had finished. They were very busy in spinning all the time in order to produce yarn for linen. That was important for a household's economy and last but not least to get a rich trousseau for advanced chances to marriage.

The spinning room was the basis for the planning and organisation of the youth' festivities in the coming year. While they were spinning they told tales and stories of the village or they sang Sorbian songs and chants. The precentor woman ("Kantorka") intoned. By the way, the full programme was about fifty songs and chants.

As a rule, the fellows were not allowed to enter girls' spinning room. Meetings between male and female youth were permitted only on special dates, for example on Burkhard's Day (October 11), on the evening before Christmas or on Shrove Tuesday which was both heyday and final of the work-together period during winter.

1Spinning room
2Spinning room
3"Bescherkind" Janšojski bog
1,2Spinning room
3"Bescherkind" Janšojski bog

The "Bescherkind"

On Wednesday before Christmas, at the last spinning room event of the year, the girls of the village meet to dress the oldest one among them as a "Bescherkind". This Christmas tradition that has only survived in Jänschwalde. The costume's particularly elaborate head decoration is adorn with marriage garlands and three bridesmaid chaplets. To keep the Bescherkind's identity secret, she is covered with netting, ribbons and pearl strings. Two women accompany the "Bescherkind" and a small bell is rung when she arrives. Wrapped up and unable to speak, she gives sweets to the children. The parents and grandparents are touched with a rod to wish them health and good fortune.

The "Bescherkind" can often be seen in the Wendish House, in kindergardens or in schools, especially when Christmas festivities are celebrated for the children.

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