Monthly Archives: March 2015

Easter in Germany – Ostern in Deutschland

Easter in Germany – Customs and Traditions

Colored eggs and rabbits play a large part in an Ostern in Deutschland, Easter in Germany, together with many other religious, secular and folk traditions and customs, while Good Friday and Easter Monday, originally “free days” for workers so they could attend church services, are public holidays throughout the country.

Palm Sunday, Palmsonntag, the Sunday before Easter, is a time for young people to take their first communion, and often combined with church parades in towns and villages symbolizing the journey made by Jesus, as he rode a donkey along palm branch covered roads to Jerusalem. A poignant sight.

Processions led by priests and choirs, young and old, fit pushing the infirm in wheelchairs, families, children in baby carriages and babes in arms, singing and carrying Palmbuschen, decorated pussy-willow bouquets in lieu of the difficult to find palms, to be blessed during the morning church service. The blessing was believed to give Palm Bouquets protective qualities, as well as being a sign of protection for the home and family until Ash Wednesday of the following year. They are also often the first Easter decorations in a home.

The next Thursday is Maundy Thursday, Gruendonnerstag Green Thursday, celebrated since the 13th century and originally with no connection to green but stemming from an old German word, greinen to groan, mourn or weep, because it commemorated the Last Supper and the betrayal by Judas.

Over time this association was lost, and been replaced by “green” as the color of hope and symbol for the awaking of nature after the winter.

Homes are cleaned and decorated with green branches or ornaments, while green food, green vegetables: spinach, beans, broccoli, leeks with chives and other herbs, make up the meals of the day. Popular ones are Gruene Bohnensuppe, Green Bean Soup, and Sieben Kraeuter Suppe, Seven Herb Soup, because of a custom based on an old superstition that green foods eaten on Gruendonnerstag give protection for the rest of the year.

Good Friday, Karfreitag is from kara – “care”, Caring Friday. The week after Palm Sunday used to be known as Karwoche, “Caring Week”, and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were dedicated to an account from the bible, but now only the Friday is marked by a special liturgy, as a day of remembrance for the crucifixion, with church services and religious processions.

Including the Kreuzwegandacht, which is a walk in prayer along the 15 Stations of the Cross, and usually held at 3 p.m. The time it is said Jesus died on the cross.

No church bells are rung and children are told they have flown to Rome to be blessed.

Fish is often on the menu on Good Friday, and it could be anything from herring salad or fish soup to an extravagant fish terrine.

In many areas the bakers mark the crust of the day’s bread with a cross, although its four sections could also have represented the quarters of the moon honoring the pre-Christian Eostre, the goddess of spring, which later become Easter. A religious festival controlled by the lunar calendar.

Easter Bonfires, “Osterfeuer”, are a custom that takes place on the Saturday, or in some regions on Easter Sunday or Monday, based on a Christian belief fire is a sign of the resurrection of Christ. Although the tradition dates back to at least the 16th century its origins are probably from pre-Christian days, and the families, friends and neighbors who gather around bonfires, which are made mainly from old Christmas trees, are not all Christians but there to have “fun”, the tradition and the light and warmth of fire symbolizing the end of winter and arrival of spring.

Osterraeder, huge flaming wood and straw wheels, are an alternative way of marking Easter and winter’s end just as they were used to represent the sun 2,000 years ago, especially in parts of North Rhine Westphalian. A spectacular sight, they roll down hills leaving behind hundreds of meters of burning tracks, and if the wheel makes it to the bottom of the hill this is a sign that the next harvest will be successful.

Ostersonntag, Easter Sunday, a day of celebration for the triumph of life over death, when the Easter rabbit or hare brings colored and chocolate eggs, hiding them or leaving them in nests already prepared by children.

This odd combination of rabbit, eggs and a Christian Festival began in the Middle Ages. Rents due from tenant farmers had to be paid on the Thursday before Easter, and as they had not been eaten during Lent Medieval landlords were paid in eggs that had been cooked to preserve them. As well as with hares caught on their property.

Nevertheless it was not until the mid 20th century that the rabbit as Egg Bringer finally won out over the foxes, storks and cranes that up until then had shared the tradition.

And with all those cooked eggs around Frankfurter Gruene Sosse mit Eiern, Eggs with Frankfurter Green Sauce, using herbs left from Green Thursday, is a favorite dish that is often added to the Easter Sunday end of Lent meal.

Ostermontag, Easter Monday in Germany, is the final day of Easter celebrations and a public holiday. It’s a family day when the entire extended family could meet for lunch, this used to be lamb but the tradition is no longer as strong as it was, and then there might be egg rolling competitions, visits to the countryside, to sports events or festivals.

Many towns hold special festivals and processions and one of these is Traunstein in Bavaria, where Joseph Ratzinger, the former Pope Benedikt XVI, lived when young.

It is the scene of the St. George Parade, a horse mounted pilgrimage in traditional dress, accompanied by brass bands, with the riders in armor andmaidens in medieval costumes. The climax of the parade is a blessing given to a gathering of almost 500 horses from the neighborhood, a complete mixture of various shapes, sizes, ages and types, none of whom are outshone by “St. George’s” pure white steed.

It is the last day of Easter celebrations, but not the end of Eastertide. That is Whitsun, Pfingsten and in Germany many of the trees, branches, wells and fountains decorated with colored eggs, together with greenery remaining from Palm Sunday, will stay in place for fifty days until the end of the celebrations for Pfingsten and Pfingstenmontag.

Frohe Ostern! – Happy Easter

Illustrations: The Stations of the Cross, 9th Station Jesus helped by Simon of Cyrene, photographer Unterillertaler, de.Wikipedia – Osterraederlauf in Luedge, photographer Nifoto, de.Wikipedia – Horses leaving the ancient Ettendorfer Kircherl, Traunstein, on Easter Monday, ChiemgauOnline

Content copyright © 2014 by Francine McKenna-Klein. All rights reserved.

Original Source: http://www.bellaonline.com/

The German Wings

Today this is a town in deep mourning, for the 16 high school pupils and two teachers who were victims of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525, as they returned from a school exchange trip in Spain. Haltern am See in Muenster, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Flags at German embassies and organizations around the world have been at half mast today in honor of the 150 lives lost.

Haltern am See, 13th century Watermill in Sythen.

germanwings

Content copyright © 2014 by Francine McKenna-Klein. All rights reserved.

Original Source: http://germanculture.bellaonline.com/Site.asp

March Equinox – What a History

Friday was March Equinox, Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. A time to celebrate new beginnings and all will be quiet here at Grosser Karlsteine, Charlemagne’s Stones, in Osnabruck. But on Winter Solstice and Summer Equinox orbs of light are said to hover over the stones to a background of tortured screaming, while stains appear on them that are impossible to explain away.

Charlemagne's Stones

Charlemagne’s Stones

The haunted stones of “Karlsteine im Hone”, a former pagan temple and burial area. A megalithic chambered tomb built sometime between 3,500 and 2,800 BC, the alleged phenomenon is said to be a result of pagan priests being killed, and their graves desecrated, by Charlemagne.

There is a legend that he broke the site’s largest altar stone with just one blow, to prove Christian beliefs were stronger than paganism.

The population of this region, as many others during Charlemagne’s reign, converted to Christianity – the alternative being death.

Charlemagne, Charles the Great, was later crowned western Europe’s first Emperor in three centuries by Pope Leo III in 800 AD, and his remains lie in Aachen cathedral, the oldest cathedral in northern Europe.

Photo of Karlsteine im Hone (Karl’s Stones), Osnabrueck, Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, via strassedermegalithkultur.de – The Route of Megalithic Culture. Strasse der Megalithkultur, a 310 kilometer – 193 mile journey of discovery through Megalithic era sites.

Original Source: German Culture

Just Who Are The Don’t We Boys?

BIOS

JOE ANDERSON (“Boys”)

Joe Anderson is an award-winning comedian, director and writer.

dwb 2013 about joeHe won an MTV Comedy Competition, spent two years touring with The Second City improv comedy theater recently wrote and starred in the play “Shoot Faster, Dear Brother, I’m Dying!” A hilarious play about the Civil War. Obviously. Lawrence Bommer, reviewer for the Chicago Reader and ChicagoTheatreBlog.com called the play, “A remarkable feat – worthy of Mark Twain” and “Two hours of pitch perfect parody.” Anderson also co-wrote the feature film “America’s Most Haunted” – soon to be available everywhere!

AJ SCHRAEDER (“We”)

A.J. Schraeder is an odd ball comedian, podcaster, and man child from Greensboro, NC.

dwb 2013 about ajHe became a regular in the dive bar of professional comedy in 2003 when he joined the award winning improv troupe “The Idiot Box”, and ever since, he’s been blasting AC/DC on comedy’s outdated jukebox, drawing hilarious phallic shaped graffiti on comedy’s bathroom walls, pushing lame dive bar analogies, and putting a hell of a lot of quarters into comedy’s golden-tee arcade machine. In addition to his sketch comedy adventures with the Don’t We Boys, he performs regularly with the nerd centric comedy team “Mon Frere”, produces the regular podcast “Unstoppable Failure” with his brother Al-don, and his award winning one man show “Thunderstood” has been performed in comedy festivals across the country.

Scott Erickson (“Don’t”)

Scott Erickson is an actor, music artist and “entertainment entrepreneur” who founded both a production company in 2010 and an independent record label 2011.

dwb 2013 about seanKnown primarily for his work as a producer of film and video, like the world-famous Grand Rapids LipDub, he is also the creator of Renovation Raiders on HGTV.

Sadly, however, he has grown weary of the corporate grind, clients’ gobble-dee-gook and all the competitive hoopla.

Scott has yearned to return to his first love of acting and entertaining his audience for years, and now–in becoming the best third member of The Don’t We Boys–he will fulfill his destiny and grow ever more powerful, assuring his plans of world domination and the dissolution of money and all governments.

Did We Boys?

A photo posted by The Don’t We Boys! (@thedontweboys) on Jan 17, 2015 at 9:29pm PST

And Another

The Don't We Boys Did

The Don’t We Boys Did

Making Time Political

Now comes the effort to politicize and cast shadows on differing thought while seemingly connecting principle to common sense and flipping it to your benefit.

Doing Nothing

Articles abound and once again public sentiment has been swayed by arguments and “scholarly” journals who scoff at fundamental American ingenuity and the sum of the effort can be categorized as simply a shell game.  One collective sees opportunity to “grow” credibility by making a rather silly debate out of……..wait…….nothing.  But – this ‘nothing’ has kite-string ties to capitalism, greed and corporate mischief, eh?  It’s always been about money?!?  But it is really for corporate industries like Golf, Shopping and more “Bad Guy” interests to make you suffer twice yearly by disrupting your bathroom schedule?

Stop it.

It’s not about returning to common sense at all.  It is about nudging the public euphoria away from progress and productivity.  There is little else that normally busy spin-meisters have to do with themselves during periods when they have to show something to justify their existence.  I know!  Let’s create an issue about Daylight Saving Time!  Let’s make use of an opportunity to show ourselves we look smarter by spinning a tale or two (or three) and we may even make ‘progress’ in our fight against Conservatives.

Here is a Simple Logic Test

1. Do you “feel” the clocks change when you ride your bike over the border between East Chicago, Indiana and East Chicago, Illinois?
2. If you take a flight from Detroit or Grand Rapids to Chicago does your appetite, general composure and sense of well being become irrevocably damaged?
3. If you moved the moment you dive into your bowl of Cocoa Puffs away from the break of dawn will the milk spoil?
4. You have absolutely NO OTHER factors that might disrupt your ‘normal daily routine’ like a late bus, baby diaper or nap times slightly delayed (for sometimes up to 4 hours) or having to look for the dog who got off the chain and went exploring in the neighborhood?
5. You are not affected at all by your spouse calling and explaining they will be an hour late to meet you at the restaurant.  You can attest to that under oath.
6. The babysitter said they stayed an hour later and you can’t understand that.
7. The utility tub drain got plugged and the washer evacuated an entire load over your boxes of wedding photos and you spent about an hour with the precious ones with a hair dryer.  This made your estrogen levels rocket and you get woozy.
8.  The wheels on your car fall off when you cross a time zone.
9.  You can spin a hard boiled egg alright on a clock that does not ‘spring forward’ but you can’t if you advance it an hour.
10. You truly believe that people who live in Greenland or Iceland get physically ill only because the length of the day is almost the same but they react to changing the clocks by blacking out?  btw – the length of daylight hours on St. Patrick’s Day in Reykjavik is 11:53:01 and increases 6’53” per day.  How do they cope?
11. Time is a constant.  It should not be messed with.  For that matter, the countries of India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar and Newfoundland should be nuked because their clocks are 30 minutes off.  And don’t  forget regions of Australia, Nepal and The Chatham Islands while you’re at it.
12. Benjamin Franklin must have been a Republican.  And a Freemason, too.  Definitely an evil man with intentions to destroy America and its happiness.

So How many Did You Get Correct?

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin

A New Axis Of Evil Or Something

Geesh. This guy Alexis Tsipras (Greece PM) is digging a moat around himself and his countrymen/women at an increasing pace.

It’s not like I go goose-stepping around Devos Place or anything – but I have to work smoothly with a very pleasant Greek woman and this makes it harder since I have German heritage.

Alexis Tsipras

Quick Addendum:  Spanish PM Hits Back Link:

Observing Hermann

It’s not just Germany hurting Greek feelings anymore (although the Germans are still evil, too).

Tsipras

The Greek government is now accusing Spain and Portugal of conspiring against it, as well. It’s a conspiracy, you see, because these two countries are willing to carry out the stringent reforms needed to get their economies going again. Greece clearly is not.

Greece’s leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused Spain and Portugal on Saturday of leading a conservative conspiracy to topple his anti-austerity government, saying they feared their own radical forces before elections this year.

How much longer is this show going to go on?

“Nach europäischen Maßstäben war das ein sehr ungewöhnliches Foulspiel. Das tun wir nicht in der Euro-Gruppe, das gehört sich nicht.”

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