“Hahnschlagen” (rooster beating) is believed to be an older form of Sorbian summer ‘rooster games’. Once a popular tradition throughout Lusatia, the custom is now only preserved in a few villages in Lower Lusatia. Hahnschlagen used to be a rather brutal pastime, with blindfolded competitors attempting to use a flail to beat a rooster sitting in a dug-out pit and covered with sticks and twigs. In Schmogrow, local men are set the task of hitting an upside-down saucepan with a flail with their eyes covered. The most skilful candidate is crowned the Hahnschlagen King and allowed to catch one of the ladies dancing around him in a circle to make her his queen – all while still wearing his blindfold. The rooster still forms part of the modern-day custom, sitting in a closed basket decorated with flowers and foliage. At the end of the event, the rooster is released to be chased and caught by the younger members of the village. The first person to catch it becomes the second king. The rooster is then auctioned off before the local residents gather to bring the day to close with a traditional dance.

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