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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, 03:25:35 pm »

FRONLEICHNAMS-FEST (Corpus Christi Day) The Thursday following Trinity Sunday

    Corpus Christi Day is celebrated throughout Catholic Germany with picturesque processions through streets that are charmingly decorated with flowers and garlands of green. Crucifixes and pictures of Christ are prominently displayed from window ledges and the steps of cottages and village fountains. In many places people display bright hangings and spread carpets before their houses in honor of the Sacrament and the large crucifix that are carried through the parish. One of the most beautiful features of the processions is the group of children, dressed in white with flower chaplets on their heads and nosegays of fragrant blossoms in their hands. Girls and women in magnificent regional costume add further distinction to the joyous event.

    Probably the most dramatic of all Corpus Christi processions are those of Lakes Staffelsee and Chiemsee, in Upper Bavaria, which take place on the water, rather than in the streets.

    Boats adorned with flowers and garlands and carrying church banners and holy symbols, glide across the lakes and are reflected in the crystal clear waters. Devout worshippers following in other boats chant liturgies which fill the still air with music and echo solemnly across the lakes.

SOMMERSONNENWENDE (Summer Solstice) June 23

    Bands of young people march singing to hills and open places to build enormous bonfires in honor of the summer solstice. First comes a picnic supper, which is eaten in the early summer twilight. Then the Johannisfeuer, or Saint John's fire, is lighted. Boys and girls dance and sing old folk ballads about the huge bonfire. The more hardy lads leap through the flames, while young lovers join hands and try to jump over the fire together. If they succeed, they never will be parted, according to current folk belief.

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