Kashubians - Economy

The Kashubian economy is principally based on peasant farming. Cultivation in the fields generally employs a crop rotation of potatoes, followed by two or more crops of rye, followed by wheat. In addition, the people keep a few horses and cattle, though the scarcity of pasturage limits their numbers. Hogs are universally kept, and geese, chickens, and ducks are very common. Most families also grow a vegetable garden, with peas, carrots, and cabbages. Mushrooms and berries are gathered as well. In villages near ponds or lakes, the Community often specializes in fishing for salmon, flounder, eels, and pilchards, according to the season.

Whether the family is principally involved in farming or fishing, the entire family participates in the economic labor of the household. Even young children are pressed into service, tending the geese and hens. Title to property is vested in the head of household, usually male, and passes from father to eldest son or daughter upon marriage, in return for the provision of a lifetime right to lodging, as well as an allowance in cash and gardening rights for the remainder of his life. Property is transferable, but should the farm be sold, any new buyer must take on the responsibility of paying the living allowance of the elderly, should the old head of household remain alive.

Kashubian crafts reflect the self-sufficiency of the Peasant farm household; traditionally, almost all the necessary tools, implements, and clothing were produced within the home. Today, such things have become the product of specialists or are likely to be of modern manufacture, but wood carving remains a common male pursuit. Carving in horn is also done, particularly of snuffboxes. Each household also once prided itself on making its own snuff, though this practice is now in decline. Women do elaborate embroidery, as well as weaving, and both men and women may weave baskets. These items are produced now for sale rather than for home consumption.

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