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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
Perseus
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« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2009, 03:23:01 pm »

People of Baden-Warttemberg call Fastnacht "Fastnet" in local dialect. For over five hundred years Rottweit on the Neckar has celebrated a Fastnet parade with all kinds of traditional figures such as three huge cocks, known respectively as Guller, Federhannes, or Feathery John, and Biss, or Bite. Another feature of the parade are groups of Fools, wearing costumes decorated with ball-shaped bells, who dance about and recite verses of "fools' wisdom" to the crowd.

KOPENFAHRT (Kope Procession), in Luneburg, State of Lower Saxony Shrove Tuesday

    The Kope Festival, observed at Carnival time by Luneburg's salt miners, dates back to the Middle Ages. According to a chronicle of 1471, an early duke of Luneburg granted journeymen salters--the sons of master salters--the privilege of holding the annual celebration which has been observed for almost five hundred years.

    The Kope, a stone-filled wooden barrel, originally was dragged through the town's narrow byways by strong horses which were mounted by Salzjunker, or young journeymen salters. Horses and riders were followed by festively-garbed local officials such as aldermen, councilors, and scribes. Then came a long line of salt mine laborers, townsfolk, and trumpeters. Through the centuries the Kopenfahrt, or Kope procession, has become a folk, rather than a historical, event. Today, as in the beginning, the trumpeters still blast loudly on their instruments in an attempt to unnerve the spirited horses. Great skill is therefore required on the riders' part in order to guide the animals safely through the streets and bring them to the mouth of the salt mine. There the Kope is ceremoniously dumped on a huge pile of wood and set on fire.

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