The Easter Horsemen

Oberlausitz, Easter 2011

I love old customs and traditions, so of course I had to be there and watch this: the Easter Horsemen from Lusatia (Osterreiter aus Oberlausitz). In this region, Lusatia (a territory in Germany and Poland), lives an ethnic community, the Sorbs, and they preserved many customs and traditions which today are a main attraction for tourists.

On the Easter Sunday morning, after the mass, a group of men from each village/town in this region goes to bring the news, that Jesus has resurected. They wear these black suits and top hats, and their horses are also very fancy decorated. First, the group assembles in the center of the village, and from there heads to the church. They surround the church for three times, and then they take, from the priest, the flags and the cross with the crucified Jesus and a statue of Jesus. They surround again the church, but this time while singing a special song, of course in the Sorbian language. Since the language is spoken now more only by the old people, I suppose it was not so easy for them, so they had the text written on pieces of papers, to help them when they forgot the words. After that, the procession heads to the next village to bring the news, while such groups come from the neighbouring villages and towns, to bring the news of the resurection. Again they surround the church for three times, while singing this song. The whole thing is scheduled, so only one group at a time arrives at the village.