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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3218 times)
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« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2009, 03:23:14 pm »

Following the bonfire the procession returns to the market place and with solemn rites enacts the ceremony of initiation of the Salzjunker into the Guild of Master Salters. For a thousand years Luneburg, famed for its salt-mining industry--the source of the town's prosperity--has paid high tribute to this important Guild. Following initiation ceremonies there is a great banquet.

    According to some authorities the Kopenfahrt originated in pagan, rather than medieval times. Consequently the flames of the great bonfire are thought to symbolize the Sun God's triumph over forces of darkness, while the rolling of the Kope through the streets represents the relentless passage of time. Quite aside from such speculation, the ancient festival was revived in 1950 following a period of interruption, and once more the event is a characteristic feature of the old salt town's annual carnival merrymaking.

BRAUTELN (Wooing a Bride), in Sigmaringen, State of Baden-Wurttemberg Shrove Tuesday

    Brauteln is the name Sigmaringen gives to a Carnival custom which started in 1648, at the close of the Thirty Years' War. In that year bachelors who dared to become engaged were honored with a peculiar ceremony. According to local tradition Sigmaringen's young men were hesitant about assuming the responsibilities of marriage and family life, due to widespread hunger and pestilence following in the wake of the war. Accordingly, the town's population diminished so rapidly that the Schultheiss, or Mayor, decided to take drastic steps.

    Finally the Schultheiss conceived a unique plan: He would honor the first young man who was courageous enough to become engaged with the Brauteln, or "Wooing a Bride" ceremony. This meant that the bachelor would be carried at the head of a brilliant procession about the pump in the market square. No pains would be spared to make the event a memorable affair. The man would be accorded so much prominence that other bachelors would be encouraged to take wives.

    The mayor's plan must have worked since the ceremony still continues. Annually on Shrove Tuesday every man is brautelt who has married within the last twelve months, has moved to town for the first time, or celebrated his twenty-fifth or fiftieth wedding anniversary.

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