The Daughters of Ninkasi

Ninkasi LogoThe Daughters of Ninkasi (DoN) was founded in the late 1800s to promote better understanding of beer’s historical significance to hearth, home and civilization, and the ancient place women held in the elixir’s production and oversight.

Central to the imagery and ritual of the DoN are the use and celebration of Wheat and of the Hop, the female flower cluster (commonly called a seed cone or strobile), of a member of the hop species known as  Humulus lupulus.

The DoN attracted many female Beertonians in the late 19th and early 20th century, and became quickly known as a community of strong women with good ideas. The DoN were active suffragettes and played an active role locally in garnering support for giving women the right to vote.

During Prohibition, the DoN worked tirelessly to bring the restorative powers of Malt to the sick and elderly, promoting activities that contributed to the general and specific welfare of these sectors of society.

The DoN continued to serve the community of Beertown through the 20th century and into the 21st. As membership in civic societies has fallen for young people across the nation, the DoN have felt this falling off, too. In an attempt to return to the old ways as a way of moving forward, and hoping to emphasize tradition and authenticity to a new wave of young women, the DoN has reactivated many of their activities tied to innovation and ingenuity.

Learn more about Ninkasi in literature and ancient civilizations below the fold. (Beertown Standards of Learning: Social Studies — Grades 4, 7, 10. Language Arts — Grades 6, 10.)

For reference, from beeradvocate.com:

The following text from 1800 BC is the Hymn to Ninkasi, translated by Miguel Civil. It was written by a Sumerian poet and found on clay tablet. It actually includes one of the most ancient recipes for brewing beer.

Hymn to Ninkasi

Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water,
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,

Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished it’s walls for you,

Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.
Ninkasi, your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.

You are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics,
Ninkasi, you are the one who handles the dough [and] with a big shovel,
Mixing in a pit, the bappir with [date] – honey,

You are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,
Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes the bappir in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grains,

You are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,
Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt set on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates,

You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.
Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.

You are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,
Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads the cooked mash on large reed mats,
Coolness overcomes,

You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort,
Brewing [it] with honey [and] wine
(You the sweet wort to the vessel)
Ninkasi, (…)(You the sweet wort to the vessel)

The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.
Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on a large collector vat.

When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s