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22-10-2021, 10:24 UTC
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St. Gregory's Day - March 12

"On St. Gregory's Day the ice flows down the sea and the swallows return from the sea."

The day of St. Gregory the Great used to be a kind of "rehearsal" for the forthcoming Easter, especially for the carollers. In an old tradition, teachers and their pupils went from house to house singing "St. Gregory's Carol". In return they would get food and small change "for the teacher's ink".

As St. Gregory's Day falls at the beginning of spring when farmers started working in the fields, a popular saying goes:

"On St. Gregory's Day only lazy farmers don't plough."

In some regions the beginning of the ploughing season was marked by celebrations similar to the carnival at the start of Lent. A text from the mid-19th century describes the celebrations in the West Bohemian district of Klatovy:

"Young people get together at one spot in the village. They wrap a young man up in rye and wheat straw from head to toe and put a pointy straw hat on his head. They place a mask on his face or blacken his face so that he cannot be recognised. Then they march in a procession with him, singing and dancing, yelling and shouting, from house to house, from village to village. In every house the housewife dances with the straw man and the young men and women dance along with them."

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