Dozynki / Harvest Festival

dozynski poland

A beautiful set of Dozynki postage stamps and commemorative cover issed by the Polish Post Office in 1966.

The Dozynki (Harvest festival) in Poland has its modern origins in an annual festival put on by landowners at the end of each growing season to reward their farmworkers for all of their efforts in bringing in the harvest. The tradition still continues today, with similar events, organised by local councils rather than wealthy farmers, happening in villages and rural communities all over Poland.

Dozynki

Farm workers and nobles gathered outside a manor house in 19th century Poland for a Dozynki celebration.

Most Dozynki festivals will involve the ritual cutting of the last sheaf of grain and its weaving into a wreath, which is then taken to the church to be blessed. After which the wreathes are displayed at a celebration in which the consumption of large quantities of food and some alcohol together with music and dancing play a large part. Sometimes several communities gather together and competitions are held to judge which of these villages has produced the best wreath. These wreathes range from the huge and complex to simple palm-sized wreathes woven by school children.

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