Harvest festival – in the region of Rzeszów
In the old times a harvest festival started in a Saturday or a Wednesday, since both these days were regarded to be lucky for collecting grains. The morning was devoted to a rest or a preparation of scythes. The harvest was started in the afternoon with reaping the first spikes, believed to have healing properties. The spikes were reaped by the host or the eldest harvester. Similar practices are connected with the last reaped spikes, also known as quails. The last reaped sheaf was decorated with flowers and brought to the host so that he could mix the grains to be sown in the following year. Girls would weave a harvest garland – one or a few – each out of different kinds of crop. The y came in various shapes depending on the author´s creativity. The y were made on a frame out of wire or willow branches and decorated with walnuts, apples, rowan, herbs and flowers. Who carried them were both a male and female leader, after whom the rest of harvesters followed. If they walked to the village´s manor house, all inhabitants took part. When the garland was large, it was carried by four reapers dressed in their Sunday best. Traditional songs were sung along.
The most important point in the celebration came when the garland was offered to the host or the lord. One of the leaders sang out greetings to him, and he would walk it around as a sign of wealth. Having accepted the garland and put it on the honorary place, the host would dance with the leader, thanking her for all the good work. The n he would invite his guests to a meal and ask them to have a good time. The dancing floor was arranged on a place especially fenced off and decorated for that purpose. The y would enjoy themselves till the middle of the night. Dances from the region of Rzeszów are characterised by spontaneity and dynamism, fast pace and freedom. The y are mainly dominated by „polkas”. Performers are free to choose the way they move, they shake one of their raised hands, jump, bend their knees, touch the floor with their hands and stamp their feet. Female dancers are more chary of their gestures and movements, yet still they show off their skills in the dance. The dance is accompanied by songs. The band consists of two violin, basses, a clarinet and dulcimers. The
Show lasts 20 minutes.