The village Of
Manners & customs
During the carnival period a special dish was always cooked whereby the ingredients rolled around in the pots, for example peas or millet. This custom of eating something round is an extension of our round pancakes. The meaning behind this is that one would have something “”round”” (i.e. money) for the whole year.
In the afternoon there was a procession with several floats decorated with old clothing. In this float there was a young boy who played the concertina. This mutual teasing and making somebody into a “”carnival fool”” is very popular even today.
On Maundy Thursday the children walked through the village from house to house chanting “”sein se su gebaten um an Gründunsch!”” and were rewarded with pretzels, eggs and other small gifts.
Looking for painted Easter eggs that were hidden for the children to find is still today an amusing and welcome pleasure.
On Easter Sunday, before sunrise, the young girls went to fetch fresh water from a flowing stream. They did not say a word either on the way there or on the way back otherwise the effect would be lost. The water was supposed to heal many illnesses in both humans and animals. The fact the boys lay in wait for the girls, chased them and tried everything to get them to talk makes this custom particularly amusing.
During Holy Week one should not wash any clothes, not clean out stables or cowsheds and also not distribute manure on the fields as this was supposed to bring bad luck.
On Walpurgis Night (30 April) when, according to old Germanic legend witches rode on broomsticks through the night air with the intent to harm humans and animals, a large Walpurgis bonfire was made to chase away the witches. At sunset everything should be finished in the stables and cowsheds otherwise the witches could enter. Two crossed broomsticks before the stable door kept the witches out.
During Whitsun birches were placed in front of the houses and the living rooms decorated with birch twigs.
The first cutting of rye should always be on a Saturday so that no mice enter the corn. When the last rye has been harvested and the farmer went onto the field, a farm labourer or a farm girl bound a straw rope around his arm. He was now tied down. Now he had to pay a ransom to get free.
One of the biggest festivals of the year was the “”Kirmes””. This was the festival for church dedication, harvest thanksgiving and a general folk festival as well as a family festival where people from near and far came to join in. At no other festival was there such an abundance of food as at the Kirmes. The harvest was safe and the animals fattened up. No wonder that the table was filled with the most sumptuous dishes after this long period of hard work.
On Christmas Eve (24 December) the cattle were given a double meal to make sure they were really full. The folk legend tells of a white little man coming to ask the cattle at midnight whether or not they were full. If the cattle are not full, then the people will have bad luck for the whole year.
When the church bells ring on Christmas Eve for mass, fruit trees are bound up with straw ropes so that on these ropes they can bear good fruit in the coming year.
Whatever one dreams of during the 12 days of Christmas (i.e. the last six in the past year and the first six in the new year) will come true.
On New Year’s Eve the chickens are fed out of a rubber tyre so that they lay they eggs within their own farm during the next year.
Lead pouring on New Year’s Eve is still done today. One tries to read into the future in the often very bizarre shapes the lead makes after it has been heated and poured into cold water.
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