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German (GER-man, ) is a South Slavic mythological being, recorded in the
folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psycholog ...

folklore
of eastern
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
and northern
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
. He is a male spirit associated with bringing rain and
hail Hail is a form of solid precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until ...

hail
. His influence on these precipitations can be positive, resulting in the amount of rain beneficial for
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
, or negative, with a
drought A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorolog ...

drought
, downpours, or hail.
Ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial exp ...

Ritual
s connected with German included making a doll intended to represent this personage. This effigy of German, made of rags,
fired clay Fire clay is a range of refractory A refractory material or refractory is a material that is resistant to decomposition by heat, pressure, or chemical attack, and retains strength and form at high temperatures. Refractories are polycrystalline, ...
, or
dried fruit Dried fruit is fruit from which the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying (food), drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or food dehydrator, dehydrators. Dried fruit has a long tradi ...

dried fruit
s, was rather large, usually with a distinct representation of the male genitals. It was produced and used in rituals exclusively by girls or young women. Janićijević, pages 184-186.Pešikan-Ljuštanović In Eastern
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, when a drought developed, girls would make such a doll, and bring it to a river bank. Depending on the regional custom, they would either bury it by the river, or put it in a little coffin and let it float down the river. Two of the girls would then start lamenting for the doll. Asked by the others why they were crying, they would answer, "We are crying for German; because of the drought German has died so that the rain may fall." If the amount of rain falling should then become excessive, the doll would be dug up again. In northern Bulgaria, the rituals with German usually followed immediately after the Dodola rituals, but could be performed independently from them. In some villages they were carried out on the Feast of . Girls would make the doll, 20 to 50 cm long, and lay it on a slate or in a little coffin. Having adorned it with flowers, they would bury it with funeral observances. After three, nine, or forty days, the doll was dug up and thrown into water. People would also try to ward off destructive summer hailstorms by placating German with a ritual performed on
Christmas Eve Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day Christmas is an annual festival commemorating Nativity of Jesus, the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration amo ...

Christmas Eve
. This ritual was recorded in the area around
Pirot Pirot ( sr-cyr, Пирот) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. ...
at the beginning of the 20th century. Immediately before the start of the Christmas Eve dinner, the head of the household would go out to his woodpile, to invite German to dinner. He would take with him a loaf of bread called "good luck", prepared particularly for this ritual,
slivovitz Slivovitz, slivovitza, slivovitsa, sliboviță, šljivovica, śliwowica, Schlivowitz, slivovice, slivovica or slivovka is a fruit spirit (or fruit brandy) made from damson plums, often referred to as plum spirit (or plum brandy). If anyone else h ...

slivovitz
, wine, and a wax candle. At the woodpile, he would shout three times, "German, German, wherever you are, come to dinner right now, and in the summer do not let me see your eyes anywhere!" He would then light the candle, take a sip of slivovitz, taste some bread, drink wine, and go back into his house. Asked how he had fared in his encounter with German, he would answer, "He came, so we dined and drank amply of slivovitz and wine, and then we parted."This ritual may be related to a custom recorded among
Ukrainians , native_name_lang = uk , image = , caption = , population = 37-40 million , popplace = 37,541,693 , region1 = , pop1 = 3,269,992 , ref1 = , region2 = ...
. During a drought, a farmer would gently address the rain, promising that he would cook a pot of
borscht Borscht () is a Ukrainian beet soup common in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is typically made using a large amount of beets (normally sour beets), by combining meat or bone Stock (food), stock with Sautéing, sautéed vegetables, which ...

borscht
for it, if it fell.
German, who dies so that the nature may regenerate with the falling of rain, can be understood as a spirit of vegetation, dying and then resurrecting with the revival of vegetation. His distinctly represented male genitals symbolize fertility. The doll of German is presumably a metaphorical replacement of the former
human sacrifice Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more humans as part of a ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed in a sequestered place and according to a set sequence. Rituals may be ...
. It can be included among the , together with the dolls of ,
Kostroma Kostroma ( rus, Кострома́, p=kəstrɐˈma) is a historic city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science ...
, and
Morena Morena is the headquarter city of Morena district Morena district is one of the 52 Districts of Madhya Pradesh, districts of the central Indian States and territories of India, state of Madhya Pradesh, located in the Chambal division. Histor ...
. In Christianized folk beliefs German is identified with . This saint is associated with the protection from hail, and occasionally from lightning, though the latter was generally ascribed to
Saint Elijah Elijah ( ; , meaning "My El (deity), God is Yahweh/YHWH") or Greek form Elias ( ), ''Elías''; syr, ܐܸܠܝܼܵܐ, ''Elyāe''; Arabic language, Arabic: إلياس or إليا, ''Ilyās'' or ''Ilyā''. was, according to the Books of Kings in ...

Saint Elijah
.


See also

*
Caloian Caloian is a rain ritual in Romania, similar in some ways to ''Dodola''. It is found mostly in Wallachia (the southern part of Romania). The origin of this ritual, as is the case with those of many other local popular beliefs and practices, preced ...
* Paparuda * Dodola


Notes


References

* * {{Slavic mythology Slavic legendary creatures Bulgarian folklore Bulgarian traditions Romanian traditions Serbian folklore Serbian traditions Rain deities Life-death-rebirth gods Fertility gods Supernatural beings identified with Christian saints