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  • Michael Mojher
    Dec 31, 2011
      From “Slovakia: European Contexts of the Folk Culture”. A New Year’s custom, polazujuce days.
      “One special form of carolling, is represented by ‘polazovanie’, ... Its essence is in the arrival of the first male visitor to the house during the so called ‘polazujuce’ days, when the ritual prohibition for a woman to enter a foreign house as the first one, is in effect. This is connected to magic of beginning, on which, according to superstitious concepts, the happiness or unhappiness of a family was based. Also through this ritual act we can read out concepts of woman under the folk belief. ‘Polaznik’ should come early morning, almost when still dark, and keep certain rules. Firstly, he should be healthy, young, nicely dressed boy in a growing period of age. He should come against the flow of the river, so as to not let the establishment run away down the water. These magic elements were so strong, that in some areas, people used to pull into the house on the Lord’s Birth day as ‘polasnik’, a young bull or ram, which represented the principle of fertility.”
      “Also processions with masks had a character of carolling. Their prosperity purposes were, besides songs and wishes, multiplied also by other means. For example, processions with ‘kurina baba’ – straw mask, when masks danced with women and girls, who during the dance pulled of the straw skirts pieces of straw and put it under a hen. This procession was made my young men on New Year’s Eve.”

      My mother practiced polazovanie when I was growing up. There was no formal procession to bring the young man. She would invite a young neighbor boy in to be the first before a girl.

      A Happy and Bountiful New Year to all.
      Michael Mojher

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