Vlachs - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The basic occupation of Vlachs is sheep breeding, including the production of milk and dairy products. The main food on all occasions is "white meat" (cheese, milk, cream, and sour cream) and bread, and only occasionally potatoes and meat. Winter food provisions are meager, except for dairy products and bacon. Their most popular drink is whey, the liquid that remains after cheese is curdled. They exchange sheep products for some agricultural products with farmers. They process wood, leather, and wool and make clothes from home-produced and -worked wool. Clothes are made from felt produced by rolling or beating woolen cloth left in the color of the natural wool or dyed with dark stains. The costume consists of a long tunicshirt, worn next to the skin, a sleeveless coat, a red yarn belt, several layers of woolen stockings and over them sandals ( opanci ) of rawhide formed on a last and with woven thongs of sheep guts. Women wear a woolen apron decorated with braids and loops. A large cloak with a hood ( kabanica ) and a small brimless cap are typically worn. Vlachs in northeast Serbia, in addition to sheep and cattle breeding, are also engaged in mining, gold panning, and the production of charcoal. In lowlands near the Danube, they are engaged in farming, fruit growing, and viticulture.

Industrial Arts. The Vlach herders are good tailors and wood-carvers. Those who settled in towns are professional artisans, particularly shoemakers, tinsmiths, coppersmiths, goldsmiths, and construction workers. They are also successful bankers and innkeepers.

Trade. Vlachs in towns are known as good tradespeople who own small oriental shops with handicraft products. For herders, exchange of goods is common.

Division of Labor. Labor is traditionally divided into male and female activities. Milking, cheese making, weaving, cleaning, washing, cooking, and care of children are exclusively female responsibilities, whereas tending pasture, chopping wood, handicrafts, and trade are men's work.

Land Tenure. Pastures, water, and forests are collective property, and every family of the group has equal rights to them. In addition, each lineage has its own pastures that are inviolable. Frequently, a number of families of the same or different lineages are joined into a larger group ( tajfe ), and Together they rent pastures, process milk, and sell dairy Products, so that a community spirit permeates all group activities.

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