Dozynki The Harvest Celebration

The week before the actual Dozynki celebration, peasants gather together to prepare the przepiorka, a three-dimensional wreath decorated with wild flowers and ribbons, to present to the revered Lord and Lady (Panstwo Gospodarze), the landowners on whose property the harvesters work.  As the Lord oversees the progress of the harvest, he is hailed and toasted with chants "Ten bedzie Sto Lat zyl"! (that he may live and prosper for 100 years)The most industrious female harvester is chosen as the 'przodownica' the harvest queen. The selection is also based on beauty and eloquence.  She receives this honour with a crown made of wheat, rye, oats and field flowers, in a moving ceremony, as she is encircled by the entire harvest community. On or near the date of August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of our Heavenly Mother, Virgin Mary, the Dozynki Celebration is held.  Dressed in their Sunday finery of exquisite embroidered and beribboned costumes, the harvesters march in procession to the manor of their employer singing " We have gathered the harvest for you from all sides of the field".The Harvest Queen removes her crown and speaks on behalf of her fellow harvesters, bestowing a harvest blessing to the Lord and Lady, offering her crown as a symbolic gift.  The fruits of the harvest are then presented with baskets of produce, bread made from the fresh wheat, and wine from the newly harvested grapes.  The hosts offer vodka, beer and other libations to inaugurate the festive occasion, and are thanked for their hospitality and goodwill throughout the year.  The celebration continues with music and ceremonial songs and dances until the early hours of the morning.