Summer and the beginning of autumn is a perfect time to go into the woods and feel the magic of mushroom picking. You might think this activity is only popular in Eastern Europe, but it’s an activity enjoyed all across the globe.
It is said that mushrooms appeared after Saint Peter dropped a piece of bread in the forest. Jesus didn’t want to waste any food, so he turned it into a mushroom. Hence their connection with bread in folk culture. Bread grew out of sourdough from rye flour and water, while mushrooms saliva became an element of fermentation. Both bread and mushrooms were food eaten by the poor and saved lives during famine. They got known as “forest meat“.
According to the custom, it’s best to start mushrooming after June 29 (st. Peter and st. Paul’s Day), on Thursday, at dawn or during full moon. Otherwise you risk poisoning.
In Polish culture, you should wear worn clothes into the forest, whilst in others – clean, white clothing. Mushrooms are cut off with a small knife called “kozik“, which must be hidden during the search in case it will scare mushrooms. You should also behave discreetly and quietly because the forest is a place of both, good bad powers, and edible mushrooms hide at the sound of the voice. In the end – it’s best to look for mushrooms away from other people.
Mushrooming is also a great way to spend time with family and friends. During searching together, there is an opportunity to pass on knowledge about the forest’s treasures to younger generations. Many people find this activity very relaxing and, as a result, making them happy when the mushroom is finally found.
The magic of mushrooms
It was once thought that the forest was a foreign and threatening area. And the mushrooms themselves were associated with impure power and chaos. Mushroom picking itself resembles a mythical pattern of traveling into the afterlife. The mushroom picker walks along unused paths in silence without looking back until he finds his treasure.
Mushrooms often form circles, smaller or larger. This was associated with divination, guessing the future and generally magic. It was believed that in such circles witch sabbaths or dances of elves and fairies took place. The Scots claimed that the fairies sit on mushrooms and use them as tables. The Welsh, though, talked about umbrellas and denied all dances at all to claim that “devil circles” arise over the underground village of fairies. It’s best to avoid them at all.
Mushrooms good for everything
These forest treasures were used very extensively. Antibiotics, lubricants for the wagon axles, protection against insects or even ink were created out of them. Someone angry could create poisons from venomous specimens, and someone in love – aphrodisiacs. Two fused mushrooms given to a loved one guaranteed the eternal love of the chosen one. When feasting on the occasion of the birth of a child, dishes from mushrooms were served. Interestingly, hats were also made of mushrooms.
Folky won’t make mushroom hats 😉 But is excited to launch a new range of clothes with mushroom print – of course. The Mushroom collection is ideal for a walk in the forest, but look fancy on every occasion. Join the hunt, and order yours from our shop today!