As every year, in Bukówiec Górny (Wielkopolskie Voivodeship) clatter races are held. According to a tradition that is at least 200 years old, boys with wheelbarrows with knockers run to either end of the village, making a lot of noise. And by the way, they compete to be the first to get back to the church.
Rattles are wooden knockers that young boys make themselves or are passed down in families from generation to generation. Their job is to make as much noise as possible. Their rumble is supposed to be an announcement of the bells that ring out on Easter Sunday.
In order not to be too quiet, since 1919 children have also been running around with a special wheelbarrow, which was constructed by a local carpenter. Her spinning wheel rattles even more than the toys the boys have in their hands.
In Bukówiec, competition was added to the tradition
– When the bells fall silent during the Paschal Triduum, throughout Friday and Saturday at the time of ringing the bells, i.e. in the morning, noon and evening, the ringing of the bells is announced by clattering and wheelbarrows. This has been preserved in various places, but none as in Bukówiec. With us, it is additionally in the form of a race – explains Zofia Dragan, president of the “MANU” Bukówczan Association.
This is due to the fact that Bukówiec is a very long village, which currently stretches 4.5 kilometers, and if – as in other villages – wheelbarrows were only run around the church, not everyone would hear the sound of clattering.
– The boys living to the left, i.e. at the small end, run there with their wheelbarrow-grandfather, and the boys living to the right of the church, with their wheelbarrow-grandmother, ran to the big end. In addition, they make three circles in front of each shrine and cross – explains Dragan.
And so they race. And since they run six times, it is not always possible to settle this rivalry. It’s going to be a draw.
I’ve been running for seven years. It’s a question of history and memory. It would be nice to keep this tradition alive – says Arek, one of the participants of the race.
Rattles on the UNESCO list
The tradition originates from the Slavic customs of scaring away evil spirits with noise, but it has been incorporated into Christian customs.
In the “Encyclopaedia of Sport” published by UNESCO in 2003, rattle races are described as a sport and a custom.
Main photo source: TVN24