Atlantis Online
July 13, 2024, 02:25:00 am
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Hunt for Lost City of Atlantis
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Festivals of Western Europe

Pages: 1 2 3 4 [5] 6   Go Down
Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3219 times)
Superhero Member
Posts: 4118

« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2009, 03:24:25 pm »

By far the most ancient and dramatic of all German Easter customs are the bonfires and fiery wheels which are common to sections of the Harz, the Rhineland, Oldenburg and Westphalia.

    The fires, built on mountain tops and ridges, are survivals of pagan sacrificial rites, while the flaming wheels, symbolic of the sun, are reminiscent of early Germanic fire worship. In some neighborhoods young people go about singing traditional rhymes and asking for contributions of fuel or money for the Easter fires. Generally these fires take the form of huge piles of tar-soaked barrel staves, tree limbs and roots.

    In the vicinity of Luegde, a Westphalian village, the usual bonfire consists of huge seven-foot oak wheels with straw-packed spokes. Each family in the village contributes straw to the gigantic wheels which weigh approximately eight hundred pounds. The wheels, poised at the top of a hill, are set afire. Thousands of spectators gathered about Easter bonfires on adjoining hills watch and cheer as the tremendous wheels start on their course down the hillside into the valley below. Each time a wheel reaches the bottom of the hill ablaze, a shout of Joy rises from the breathless villagers who regard this as portending special blessing to the land and a rich harvest to the farmer.

    Water no less than fire is important in Easter rites, especially among young girls of the Harz, Thuringia, and many other regions. The girls, rising at dawn stealthily go out to the river bank and dip up "Easter water." If they do not utter a single word and then bathe in the water, they will be rewarded with beauty throughout the year. For those who cannot go to the river bank there is, of course, the Easter morning dew which, when used for bathing the face, is sure to make it look fresh and charming.

    Spring flowers and grasses are important in Easter ceremonies, especially in the Black Forest. There blossoms and leaves are fashioned into symbolic crosses and hearts and taken to church for blessing. The Easter sunrise is considered important, too; for if the sun dances and you can see it, you will be blessed with good luck throughout the year.

    Easter brings special Joys to shop and factory workers who don knapsacks and go out into the country; and to young and old of towns and villages, who put on new spring finery and join the ranks of Sunday afternoon participants in the traditional Easter parades.

Report Spam   Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 4 [5] 6   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy