Like all countries of the world (apparently), Germany has parades.
We got to enjoy the harvest festival erntgedankfest (ernt = harvest, gedanken = thanks/thoughts, fest = festival) and one of Northern Germany’s Thanksgiving parades this past weekend.
We went to the parade with Carrie’s (distant) cousins Joern (pronounced: yourn) and Sabine (Suh-bee-nuh), and their son Kevin (you probably already know how to pronounce that).
It was a lot of fun!
There were modern and antiquated tractors pulling trailers filled with dancing people, marching bands playing fun SchlagerMusik (Think Oom-Pah-Pah on a Tuba), and costumes a-plenty!
Some of the floats were also decorated with slogans.
Most of them said something like
“It’s been a wet year and we had very little sun,
But we had a good harvest, so let’s have some fun.”
There were also people throwing candy, and some even passing out sausages, pretzels, and giving out shots of various liquors.
Afterward, everyone made their way to a field where they pulled up the festival crown onto a pole with a metal arm attached so that the crown could swing freely. The crown was decorated with some of the year’s harvest including potatoes, corn, and assorted squash.
Germans have been doing this for hundreds of years.
Traditionally, it was good luck to dance under the crown.
Today, it’s more of a celebration of tradition.
After the opening festivities and some people giving speeches in Platt Deutsch (think Old/country German), most of the people dispersed to the tents set up to have a beer and a bratwurst.
Having had (more than normal amounts of) beer the night before on WallStrasse in Oldenburg (and having had a shot during the parade), neither Carrie or I felt much like a beer, so we let the others partake of the festivities.
I asked Carrie, “How many parades have we seen or been in, in other countries?”
Her response: “How many countries have we been to?”
Parades are a great way to get a feel for the culture of a place, and also a way to feel at home.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good parade?