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34541RE: [Slovak-World] Czech translation: sla oferou

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  • Helen Fedor
    Jul 31 7:15 AM
      So I was right in my semi-wild guess!

      Modern-day medicine also dictates that a new mother shouldn't drive, go back to a workplace, or do anything strenuous for 6 weeks after giving birth.

      For a woman, anytime a flow of blood was involved, the result was impurity. I'm sure that stretches way back into history, back beyond Old Testament times.


      To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
      From: armata@...
      Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2013 10:09:41 -0400
      Subject: RE: [Slovak-World] Czech translation: sla oferou

      Thanks to all! I got an email from a Czech speaker who indicated that "ofe~rou" here meant "with an offering", so "she went round the altar with an offering" . That instrumental ending of ofe~rou was confusing for me.

      The article I'm plowing through is talking about Czech and Slovak customs after birth in the 19th and very early 20th century. For six weeks / 40 days the mother was excused from church or any other duties (woohoo, six weeks off!). She was supposed to remain in bed behind a curtain with her baby, though that may not have been always strictly followed. This was not only important for the protection and health of mother and baby (infant deaths were common), but there was magical thinking involved too. The mother had used up all her fertility in giving birth, and if she went about tending the crops or visiting young healthy women, all their fertility and life would naturally flow into her, leading to crop failure and infertile women. We can't have that! After a few weeks, her fertility batteries had recharged, and she could resume normal life without endangering the environment around her. The churching rite made that change in status official, and it was regarded more as a blessing of the mother and a thanksgiving for a happy birth than a purification.


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