Folk Customs Preserve Wend’s Hard-won Ethnic Identity

This article by Carlos Vidal Greth first appeared in the Lifestyles section of the Austin American-Statesman on Friday, May 26, 1989. it was a secondary story to The Way of the Wendish. Photos were done by Taylor Johnson.

The Wends, who moved to Texas in part to preserve their ethnic identity, hold dear the remaining folk practices:

•           Easter-egg decoration – elevated to an art form – is practiced by craftsmen In East Germany and Central Texas (photo at right). The decorators inscribe elaborate designs on empty eggshells with a stylus dipped in hot beeswax. After the wax hardens, the eggs are boiled in dye. When the wax is scraped off, white designs are revealed on the brightly colored shells.

•           Another tradition is the gathering of the “Easter water” by older girls in a community. Early in the morning of the holiday, they go silently to the creek and fill pails with water. At daybreak, they “baptize” the livestock and the sleeping household – often to angry yowls – to ensure good luck for the year.

•           The birds’ wedding takes place Jan. 25, when children place empty saucers outside, often on fenceposts out of the reach of dogs and cats. When the children awaken the next morning, they find the dishes filled with candy supposedly left by birds. Parents say that the birds were celebrating their wedding and wanted to share their gifts with human neighbors.


Two Poems by Ray Spitzenberger

All Things End was written by Ray Spitzenberger on November 29, 2017. Marching to a Different Drummer was written on 21 December 2017.






all things end

ipso facto

before they end

dum spiro spero

they wind down

de facto

it’s the winding down

status quo

that breaks my heart

kyrie eleison

things begin and end

carpe noctem

it’s the in-between that smarts

terra incognita

especially the far end of in-between

eheu, fugaces labuntur anni

when you say goodbye to so much

ad hoc

it’s sad to face the truth of no more

ex nihilo nihil fit

except that the end is the beginning

in saecula saeculorum





God said,

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Ta-boom, ta-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom.

Eliot said,

“It is never too late to be what you might have been . . .”

Rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat-tat.

Picasso said,

“Every child is an artist.

The problem is

How to remain an artist once he grows up . . .”

Tat-a-rat-tat-tat, tat-a-rat-tat.

Mozart said,

“The music is not in the notes,

But in the silence between . . .”

Rat  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  tat-tat.

Einstein said,

“Logic will get you from A to B.

Imagination will take you everywhere.”


Nin said,

“We don’t see things as they are,

We see them as we are . . . “

Tat-a-rat-tat, rat-a-tat-rat-rat.

I say,

“Working in solitude every day

To write poetry makes me deliriously happy . . .”


Don’t ever condemn a person

For marching to a different drummer.