Harvest Festival 2012

First of all, Elizabeth Baxter interviewed me for the Sunday Spotlight at her blog Small Blonde Hippy. Come on over and say hello.

In other news, this weekend was “Erntefest”, i.e. the Harvest Festival, in my semi-rural suburb of Bremen. And as every year, local clubs and organisations celebrated the Harvest Festival with a parade. You can see my account of last year’s Harvest Festival here by the way.

I also took some photos, which you can see behind the cut:

Harvest Festival - Fire engine

As every year, the parade began and ended with a vehicle of the local volunteer fire brigade.

Harvest parade horses

The local horse riding club was next.

Harvest crown

The centerpiece of the annual harvest parade is the harvest crown. It is accompanied by some elderly gentlemen of the volunteer fire brigade who organised this year’s parade. After the parade the harvest crown will be displayed in the church.

Harvest festival parade

A view up the street at the floats yet to come…

Harvest parade

…and a view down the street at the floats that have passed. Note the kissing teenagers on the rearmost float.

Harvest parade floats

The float of a children’s football team. I like the fact that it’s a mixed boys’ and girls’ team.

Harvest parade float

More football players, this time adults.

Harvest parade

The ladies’ gymnastics team is always known for their imaginative costuming. This year, they dressed up as mice.

Harvest parade float

A girls’ handball team and their coach dressed up as the Smurfs.

Harvest parade Smurfs

A couple of Smurfs (or rather Smurfettes, since they’re all girls) on foot.

Harvest parade

The float of the Kyffhäuser Bund. The Kyffhäuser Bund was originally founded in the 19th century as an association of former soldiers. Nowadays, it’s mostly elderly men and women who sometimes have shooting competitions and otherwise socialize and drink a lot.

Harvest parade decorated tractor

The tractors pulling the floats are often decorated as well. This is a particularly beautiful example.

Harvest parade decorated tractor

Another decorated tractor. This one carries a pink plush pig, because a pic is the logo of the bowling club “Hest Em Bi Di”, which means “Have you got it?” in Lower German. The name refers to the custom that if two members of the club meet on the street, they will ask each other if they have got it and proceed to show each other the little pig figurines they carry everywhere. If a member has forgotten his pig figurine at home, he has to pay a fine.

Harvest parade float

A particularly beautifully decorated float with the theme “De Bur en det lieve Vieh”, which means “The farmer and his kindly cattle” in Lower German. The name is a play on the German title of the 1970s TV show “All Creatures Great and Small”.

Harvest parade float

The Klosterbläser (abbey players) brass band brought their own music.

Harvest parade float

Yet another childrens’ football team.

Harvest parade float

This colourful float has the theme “Drunken goats and their tamers”, playing on the fact that “Ziege” can mean not just “goat” but also “bitch” in German.

Harvest parade float

The young people on this float have dressed up as farmers and announce that they still know what shoving cows means. We’ll have to take them by their word.

Harvest parade fire engine

Another fire engine completed the parade.

Conspicuous by its absence was the Liederkreis Harmonie (song circle harmony), a choir which has been a firm presence at these parades for as long as I can remember. But the members of Liederkreis Harmonie have also been elderly for as long as I can remember (they made the church choir seem hip by comparison, which is quite a feat), so maybe they have all gone to that great choir in the sky by now.

Siedlervereinigung Hördener Heideweg (home owners’ association of Hördener Heideweg), which used to win the prize for the best float almost every year, was missing as well. But then most of the original home owners must be in their sixties and seventies by now and new neighbours might simply not care.

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7 Responses to Harvest Festival 2012

  1. Laran says:

    Loved the pictures and especially your detailes descriptions of the local Brauchtum depicted!

    • Cora says:

      Glad you liked the pics.

      The weirdness that is “Hest Em Bi Di?” and the Kyffhäuser Bund is hard to describe. In fact, the most amazing thing about the Kyffhäuser is that they are still around, though they’ll probably be gone in another twenty to thirty years, since their membership is mostly over fifty and over sixty. As for “Hest Em Bi Di?”, they’re just weird period. Though the sport clubs and the volunteer fire brigade are still going strong and keeps getting an influx of young people.

  2. Sherwood says:

    Loved the pictures!

  3. Estara says:

    These smaller festivals so rarely happen over here in neighbourhoods any more – just a big town-wide festival, if at all. Lovely.

    • Cora says:

      We’re pretty lucky that we still have a local Schützenfest, Erntefest and Laternenfest in addition to the big city-wide events. But some friends who live near Worpswede, i.e. just north of Bremen, also had a harvest festival every year, but then it was given up a few years ago.

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