Glories of the West: Dresden, Germany

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Source: deutschlandLiebe (Facebook group)

Almost entirely destroyed by Allied firebombing in World War Two that killed tens of thousands (estimates range from a low of 25,000 to a high of 135,000), Dresden has risen, Phoenix-like, literally from the ashes!

Encyclopedia Britannica article on the City of Dresden

Short drone video of Dresden, focusing on the restored historic heart of the city:

Click the link for a longer video!

 

A Tale of Two Germanies | Chronicles Magazine

Trifkovic-Bundestag_092119

Under communism the State tried but failed to subjugate the Nation; under liberalism, the State gradually and gently destroyed the Nation.

Source: A Tale of Two Germanies | Chronicles Magazine

“An important foreign story consistently underreported in the U.S. is the remarkable rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the eastern states of the Federal Republic…

“Immigration and asylum laws remain a very important issue for millions of Germans, although the mainstream parties and Germany’s uniformly liberal media machine pretend otherwise. It is the most important issue in Saxony, closely followed by the related problem of internal security, with the economy, education, housing, and social policy lagging far behind.

This order of priorities, eminently rational, confirms what we have known for a long time: that Soviet communism, with its crude Pavlovian methods of control, has been far less corrosive to the health of nations and communities than Western liberalism and internationalism, which rely on the implantation of subliminal messages by Freudian means.

“The key pillar of that message is that all nations are but social arrangements, artificial, temporary, and–especially in Germany’s case–potentially dangerous. This has made the liberal German state deeply hostile even to the most benign understanding of national or ethnic coherence. Estranged from their parents, ignorant of their culture, ashamed of their history, millions of young western Germans subjected to denazification were duly de-Germanized.”

The full article is well worth a read!

The German National Anthem (Deutschlandlied) | Germany Tourism and Travel / Everything about Germany

Source: The Germany National Anthem (Deutschlandlied) – Germany Tourism and Travel by Everything about Germany

The site notes that although “nationalism is unfairly, and incorrectly, linked to Nazism (the U.S., for instance, has been heavily nationalistic since its birth, and has been the most ardent defender of true liberty and justice for all), Germany itself has a long, rich history outside of the Hitler era.” Indeed!

In fact, the Deutschlandlied itself was written at a time of considerable liberal, even revolutionary, ferment, as German liberal nationalists pushed for unification of the many German kingdoms, principalities, and duchies (at a time when the nation-state was seen to be more liberal and progressive than ancient kingdoms). In fact, the line that seems the most grossly militaristic –

“Germany, Germany, over all: over everything in the world!”

– actually represents a plea for Germans of all states, from Prussia to Bavaria, to place their common unity above merely local concerns. But this is hardly the first song to be misunderstood, when heard out of context! Of course, some of the places listed as being part of “Greater Germany” are part of other countries, now. But territorial borders were a good deal more flexible, in the mid-19th century…

In any case, it’s difficult not to like a song that contains affirmations of

“German women, German loyalty,
German beer, and German song!”

English translation (variations exist):

Germany, Germany over all
Over everything in the world!
When it comes to protecting and defending,
Our unity unites us.
From the Maas to the Memel,
From the Etsch to the Belt:
Germany, Germany over all
Over everything in the world!
Germany, Germany over all
Over everything in the world!

German wives and fidelity,
German wine and melody,
Shall all persevere in the world.
Their fair and ancient tone,
Resounds in us our noble goal
Throughout our entire lives.
German women, German loyalty,
German beer, and German song!
German women, German loyalty,
German beer, and German song!

Unity, justice, and liberty
For the Fatherland!
Let us all strive for that,
In brotherhood with heart and hand!
Unity, justice, and liberty
Are the foundation for happiness:
Bloom in the radiance of this happiness,
Flourish, O Fatherland!
Bloom in the radiance of this happiness,
Flourish, O Fatherland!

The Great Christmas Truce of 1914 | Sainsbury’s Ad | Christmas 2014

Source: 1914 | Sainsbury’s Ad | Christmas 2014

I am not normally a fan of marketing, but I love this ad, and even more, the historical episode behind it: the Great Christmas Truce of 1914, which for a few brief, shining hours, stopped one of the most horrific and destructive wars in history – certainly in European history – in its tracks. Before they were forced back to killing each other by their “superiors,” the ordinary soldiers of the British and German Armies enjoyed a brief respite from the fighting… and a brief vision of one another as fellow-humans, brothers.

If only the spirit of that moment could have somehow taken hold, been built upon, perhaps the terrible destruction and loss of the flower of European youth – the “death of a generation” – at Verdun, the Somme, and other battles, might have been prevented. And perhaps, just perhaps, the continued suffering and loss which has followed, in the last century, might also have been prevented… A heartwarming, yet heartbreaking, story.

I cry every time I watch this.

Please, God – no more brother wars.

Glories of the West: Colomansfest, Schwangau

Source: Romantic-Road-Germany: Colomansfest, Schwangau | Facebook

Saint Coloman – Schwangau – Riders“SCHWANGAU, Bavaria: On Sunday, October 14, 2018, the traditional Colomansfest takes place, which is always held on the second Sunday of October. With the Colomansfest, the tradition of the Horse Ride goes back to the 16th century. More than 200 splendidly dressed horses – ridden by traditional wearers [wearers of traditional costume] – take part in it. At 9:00 o’clock the cavalry train is formed at the town hall and led by the music band Schwangau and accompanied by the music band Weissensee in the direction of the pilgrimage church St. Coloman. In favorable weather, the Holy Mass is held with all riders and visitors outdoors. At the end of the Mass, Coloman’s relic is followed by a solemn equestrian event, followed by a three-hour tour around the church, which the clergy and political guests of honor perform in decorated carriages. Guests of honor this year are Markus Ferber (MEP), Angelika Schorer (MdL) and Schwangau Second Mayor Johann Stöger.

Saint-Colman-of-Stockerau1“The pilgrimage church of St. Coloman is dedicated to a saint – Saint Coloman [Irish Colmán]. According to legend, he is said to have been an Irish prince who undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His path also took him through our area. In July 1012 Coloman came to the area of ​​Stockerau, the former border area between Bavaria and Moravia. Because of his foreign clothing and language, he was suspected as a spy, tortured, sentenced to death and executed. Soon his innocence turned out. Because miracles took place on his corpse, the then sovereign ordered on October 13, 1014, the solemn transfer of the bones from Stockerau to the collegiate church in Melk. When the horse ride took place for the first time, is not known. However, it may be assumed that the first hunts took place in the 15th or 16th century, possibly even going back to the beginnings of the pilgrimage. The importance of Colomansfest in village life may be seen from the fact that in 1552, Emperor Charles V granted the owner of Hohenschwangau the right to set up and hold a market “annually and for eternity” on Coloman day. Based on this market right, stands on this feast day at the church stalls with drinks and snacks, because it is a tradition to cultivate the cosiness after the church.

Saint Coloman – Collegiate Church, Melk“Colomansfest on Sunday, October 14, 2018 in Schwangau:
– from 9 clock, installation of the riders at the town hall of the community Schwangau
– 10 clock service at the pilgrimage church of St. Coloman
– 3 pm Rosary
On Saturday, October 13th, the Colomanstag will be celebrated with a mass at 10 o’clock and a rosary at 14 o’clock in the pilgrimage church of St. Coloman. A small service provides for your physical well-being.”

Here is a video on the subject of St. Coloman himself:

And here is a video of (parts of) the 2013 Colomansfest:

 

Glories of the West: Oktoberfest in Bavaria!

Trachten- und Schützenzug (Folk-costume and Riflemen) parade in Munich, Bavaria, 2016.

Oktoberfest began on the 22nd of this month (September). Although originally specific to Bavaria, it has become associated with all things German – at least in American minds! – and is celebrated pretty much worldwide, wherever people live who claim German blood. But Bavaria (Bayern), and Munich (München) in particular, remains the epicenter.

Originally held on the 12th of October, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, later to become King Ludwig I, to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, it was enjoyed so much that it became an annual event. Before long, it was moved to September, to take advantage of the longer and warmer days, but it kept the name it had picked up: Oktoberfest.

Although the Royal horse-races that were the original highlight of the event are no longer held, and the once-annual agricultural fair is held only every three years, Oktoberfest is still more than just its “beer and boobs” reputation (not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with either…).

The parade of folk-costumes shown in the above clip – held on the first Sunday of Oktoberfest – originated in 1835, and became an “official” and regular part of the celebration in 1950. Since then, it has been expanded to include crossbowmen in medieval clothing, riflemen, folk dancers, flag-throwers, bands, carriages and floats, horses, and even goats, cows and oxen.

Tracht (plural Trachten), or folk-costumes, are the traditional or “national” costume of the region; descending from the working clothes of country folk, they are now proper attire for such festivals as Oktoberfest, and a few other festivals such as the late-summer Viehscheid (cattle drive) that celebrates the ceremonial return of the cattle (and their herders) from the mountain pastures, where they have spent the summer fattening up on the lush Alpine meadows, to the lowland towns where they will spend the winter.

Learn all you need to know (and then some!) about the wearing of this traditional attire at the “Great Big Guide to Bavarian Clothing.” Just be sure to click on the buttons near the bottom, to continue on to the next page. As this site notes,

“In recent years, traditional Bavarian clothing has had something of a revival and is now more popular than ever… It’s not just at the world-famous Wiesn [the “field” or “meadow” on which the Munich Oktoberfest is held] that lederhosen and dirndls are worn… Many towns and villages have local festivals at which locals don traditional outfits, as do they for special occasions such as Christmas or weddings.”

John F. Dausch notes that

“In 1887 the tradition began of opening Oktoberfest with a procession through town of the proprietors and brewers to the fair grounds on the Theresienwiese, (“Queen Theresa’s Meadow”), or Wiesn, for short. A young lady portraying the Münchener Kindl (the child monk, Munich’s symbol) leads off, followed by the mayor’s open carriage, after which, riding in flower-bedecked wagons, the proprietors, brewers, servers, concession workers, and kegs and kegs and kegs of beer.”

Here is a video of this parade of brewers and breweries (note – 35 minutes):

Beer is not sold, however, until the Mayor of Munich has tapped the first keg:

This year, he succeeded with only two blows of the mallet! John Dausch notes,

“In 1950, Munich’s mayor Thomas Wimmer introduced the tradition of officially tapping the first Oktoberfest beer barrel exactly at 12:00 o’clock on the first day of the fair, and then announcing loudly, ‘O’zapft is!’ – Bavarian dialect for ‘It’s tapped!’ From the Schottenhamel tent, where this ceremony occurs, word goes out to a team which fires a cannon twelve times, only after which beer is served at Oktoberfest.”

This year, Oktoberfest runs from September 22nd – October 7th, 2018. Some day, I hope to be able to attend!

Einschulung: the first day of school in Germany!

 

“The first day of school in Germany, known as Einschulung, begins with a Saturday celebration that includes bags of candy, presents, and more!”

Just another example of the fact that many of the rest of us could profitably take a page from the traditional German book! In any case, this is an awesome tradition, one which I hope is preserved. And one which, as I say, more of us might find it helpful to adopt, in one form or another (the cones are a German tradition; non-Germans among us might find another container, out of respect).

Note that specific details of this tradition may vary, according to where you are in Germany. For more details, see this accountor this one, which includes some German vocabulary!