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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
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« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2009, 03:24:11 pm »

Eggs are not only presented to friends but are important in all the Easter games. Friends give each other beautifully hand-painted eggs which are made according to distinctive traditional designs. The exquisite patterns are passed down from one generation to another in certain towns and villages. Often a special legend or verse accompanies the decoration. In many places, on the other hand, it is customary for village girls to present their suitors with red eggs. Should the girls fail to have their gifts ready, however, the boys spank them with canes!

    Eggs play an important role in the Easter sports. In northwestern Germany, for example, peasants have formal contests to see who can devour the greatest number of eggs. Egg duels, known as Eier-Spacken, or Eier-Doppen always are immensely popular. Contestants face each other, holding hard boiled eggs by the round ends. Each stabs his adversary's egg with the pointed end. The player who succeeds in cracking the greatest number of his opponent's eggs wins, and receives all the damaged eggs as prize.

    Eierlesen, or egg gathering, and Eierschieben, or egg rolling, are two of the season's most popular sports. The egg gathering contests, particularly, require great agility and skill. Eggs are placed at intervals along a racing track. Running down the track at a starting signal, the boys try to see who can gather tip the most eggs in the allotted time. The game is even more exciting when, as in the Black Forest and some other areas, contestants ride down the line on horseback or bicycles.

    In Germany as in the United States, egg rolling contests are confined chiefly to children. This sport usually comes on Faster Monday. Boys and girls play their game on a hillside. The child whose egg rolls the greatest distance wins. In some villages the girls play Caningeln, a game in which an egg is rolled through a ring. This feat requires great agility and skill.

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