For the custom of Hahnrupfen (‘rooster plucking’), a gate wrapped in oak foliage is erected in an empty, harvested field, and a dead rooster is attached to the top bar. The rooster is mounted at a height that requires the men riding through the gate to display extreme levels of skill and courage in order to pull off the animal’s head and wings. The competitor able to rip off the head is crowned as the first Hahnrupfen King, while the two men who tear off the wings take second and third place. The remaining riders can try to grab a consolidation prize. The three victors are then blindfolded and set the task of choosing their queen from a group of young ladies who have gathered for the occasion, wearing the traditional dress of their region. All three couples are presented with winners’ wreaths, and the celebration comes to a close with a social gathering and plenty of dancing.
Nowadays, some villages perform a modified version of this harvest custom, with troughs or bicycles used instead of horses.
Here you can find brief descriptions (in German) of a number of Sorbian customs that are still practised in the present day. Visit