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  • Beekeeping was a popular, agricultural activity, widely practiced in our village area. In visiting the skansens which preserve the village life of our ancestors, it is common to see wooden and woven beehives-a staple of their farmsteads. Visitors can sometimes also see more unusual hives-logs fashioned into fanciful folk art sculptures. In addition to photographs of hives from Rusyn-life skansens and museums, we are fortunate to be able to include twenty-five-year-old photographs of a honey-gathering Wola Cieklinska beekeeper and a more recent picture of beehives in Klopotnica.

    Honey was a product of sweetness and grace in a hard life. There was a pagan closeness between nature and the peasants who depended upon the gifts provided by the natural world. When pagan practices gave way to Christianity, liturgical blessings were created to protect the bees, beehives and beekeepers. Sometimes small shrines with icons would be hung among the treasured hives. It was with deep gratitude that the mother in each family, at the start of Holy Supper, dipped a bitter clove of garlic in honey, made the sign of the cross on each family member's forehead and prayed, "May you have sweetness and many good things in life and the new year."
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