Tuesday, October 01, 2002

October 2002 - Dozinky, the Harvest Festival

Now, I'm adding a few things that are not in the article - little David Adam was born at the end of March, the 85 year old lady is Rina Homolka. The people speaking French are French Canadians. The plum cake was made by Eva Zimova. Seyfrieds are Jane & David with Christopher, 4, (and Adelle, who was in the baby pram at the wedding. Korakov is the name of their estate, 7 km from Tyn, but by itself, not in a village. Dave Seyfried's parents, Pat & Jan, were here again from Canada.

Dozinky, the Harvest Festival

Autumn brings turning leaves, ripe apples lining highways, and thanksgiving days. Canadians celebrate in October, Americans celebrate in November, but Czechs have festivals farm by farm after each finishes harvesting. The name of this Czech celebration is DOZINKY.

Our family attended a dozinky near Tyn nad Vltava on a September Saturday.

The day was gorgeous. The setting was sunny, warm, but not hot, with blue skies and puffy clouds. Cattle grazed peacefully on nearby pastures, coming for drinks of water to a trough under huge old trees. The celebration was within the large square yard formed by houses, some of the barns, garages, and the grainery. We parked our cars on the side of the square.

The guests were a wonderful mix. The youngest was our five month old grandson, and the oldest was an 85 year old lady. Friends, acquaintances, new acquaintances greeted us. People spoke English, Czech, French, some conversations switching from one to the other. The baby got passed around, rewarding everyone with his lovely smile, the universal language. One little girl, about nine years old, asked me why there was a band ­ she didn’t realize she was at a dozinky, or what it was. And it took me awhile to figure out in what language she wanted me to answer her!! My mother-in-law heard about the lives of some people she had known in refugee camp. I offered several people free kittens.

A canopy shaded a sitting area. You strolled to the grainery for drinks. Two young men greatly enjoyed dispensing beer from a keg, or you helped yourself to coffee and other drinks. Bread, rolls, fresh leafy salads, pickles, mustard awaited the roast pig on a spit. Two men tending the pig, basting it with a marvelous sauce, slicing off succulent slices, greeted me, glad I’d come again to the dozinky. I was pleased, although surprised they had recognized me.

A four piece band played and sang, mainly folk songs, and fulfilled requests by guests. A little dog stole a big piece of pork from a plate prepared for a guest, laying it near his owner’s chair for protection! This was after he had eaten a tiny frog from a mud puddle! Little boys aged four to seven or so played with toy trucks at the stone doorstep of one of the houses, but their favorite activity was catching frogs in the puddles. They did this with their hands, getting quite muddy.

Many people took advantage of horses and coach and farm cart. "Rides leaving the yard every few minutes!" This was a favorite of Kristyna, our granddaughter. But she wanted to stand up, and I wanted to grip her firmly around the waist, leading one of the nine year olds to ask if I were the grandmother.

Another favorite activity was visiting piglets, sows, and cows in various barns. I had done this at another dozinky, so remained with conversing guests this time.

The eating part of the dozinky finished with a plum cake and bought cookies ­ all freely and individually chosen by each guest, so we left satisfied, but not overstuffed. It had been a pleasant, relaxed afternoon.