Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Social Customs and Festivals of the Lusatian Sorbs over the Course of a Year

The Lusatian Sorbs are an ethnic minority in the eastern part of Germany, consisting of ca. 60,000 people. The Sorbs are distinguished not only by their own language but also by peculiarities in their material and immaterial culture.

Facts & figures

Crucial date: 30 rituals over the course of a year
Inscription: 2014
Domains: social practices, rituals and festive event
Where to find: in Saxony and Brandenburg - at the border to Poland


Domowina - Bund Lausitzer Sorben e.V.
Marko Kowar

Spread throughout the entire year ca. 30 festivals are celebrated such as the community assembly Woklapnica/”Abklopfen des alten Jahres”, (brushing off the Old Year), the Vogelhochzeit (Marriage of the Birds) and the Shrovetide festival “Zapust” as well as Easter Riding and the Christ child at Christmas time.

The customs and festivals in the course of the year are important features of Sorbian identity and their cultural self-realisation.

They are shaped by people of all generations. The Sorbs see their customs and festivals not merely as traditional events but also as a part of modern life. As the Sorbs do not live in a single, self-contained settlement area, the traditions and festivals today are frequently practised by mixed bearer groups.

They are accordingly also to be understood as integrating regional practices. The majority of the customs are practised across Federal State boundaries, in Saxony and Brandenburg. However, over the course of time regional differences between Lower and Upper Lusatia have come into being.


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Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, 2019