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Spinning - Bee

Spinning-bee is a type of women’s working bee (moba) (bee – gathering for the purpose of mutual helping out in carrying out a certain task). People were called upon in a bee in different parts of the year, depending on the task that had to be carried out. Spinning-bees usually took place in the autumn, when days were shorter and nights longer, and there was less work in the fields. Spinning-bees were held how certain female chores could be finished: wool combing, wool carding, spinning, and knitting. One would go to the spinning-bee in order to help the others, or to finish some of their own chores, and they also went there in order to sing and have fun.


Spinning-bees were called upon by housewives or their daughters. Starting time of the bee was suggested by the housewife, and according to that other girls decided when to come. Spinning-bees usually took place in the houses of better off families. More young men and women could come to the bigger houses and thus the gathering was merrier. The girls used to dress up for these occasions. When they came, first they sat for a while, had some juice, ate some uštipci (doughnut-like fried balls), apples, walnuts and hazelnuts, and then the work could start. The housewife decided what they would do. Some girls spun, other knit, while some of them stitched.


Men usually came a bit later. They used to come in groups, usually from other villages. They sat next to the girls they liked, flirted with them, teased them, took their hanks and spindles, and threw small rolls of wool at them. Girls liked to be teased by men they liked, while they changed their places if unwanted men came to court them. Girls used to sing while working and man cracked walnuts and hazelnuts and gave them to the girls. They had fun in various ways, they used to tell well-known stories, riddles, etc. When all the work was done they danced kolo (a circle dance, where all the dancers form a circle by holding hands). When it was late at night, spinning-bees ended. Men escorted girls home, and arranged future meetings.

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