Beiträge

Leonhardifahrt – The Blessing of the Horse

The grinding sound of wagon wheels, bells and low whispered prayers while steam rises in the morning light from the backs of beautifully liveried horses…that for me is Leonhardifahrt in Schliersee.

On a crisp autumn morning in November, the wooden carriages begin their procession to the St. Leonhard Chapel in Fischhausen.  Each hand painted historic wagon, decorated in the old way with straw, flowers and religious themes is filled with gloriously dressed men and women.

This colorful procession is to honor the work horse and livestock.  I know your thinking another event to celebrate the cows?  But of course. Why not.  They certainly deserve it.   This centuries old farming tradition gives thanks to the patron saint of livestock,  St. Leonhard, with a blessing by the church.

When I first moved Schliersee this was the one event of the year everyone was talking about.  You can imagine my excitement when I started to see these ancient wagons being rolled out of barns all over the area and the decorating beginning.  I felt like a kid on Christmas morning and this event did not disappoint.  From the incredibly detailed local costumes to the polished to perfection, colorful livery and the endless stream of proud and prancing horses.  This is one event you can’t miss.

After all the carriages arrive and are lined up to make their passage past the ceremonially dressed priests and receive their blessing everyone parks their wagons in the field behind the chapel.  This is a great opportunity to get a close look at all the beautiful details that goes into each carriage.  There is a small church service held outside with the beautiful backdrop of our local mountains.  Some folks gather in the small baroque chapel, another site not to be missed, and say their prayers in the smokey Frankincense scented interior.

For my friends and family, we like to head over to the Wasmeier museum for a beer and a meal afterwards.

The event begins at 9 am on 6 November 2016 at the Leonhardi Chapel in Fischhausen.  This chapel is located on B307 just passed the lake in Schliersee and before you reach the train station in Neuhaus.  This road will be blocked on the day so arriving early or taking the BOB train is recommended.

If you would like more information about Leonhardifahrt, please click the link provided: http://www.schliersee.de/sommer/kultur-lebensart/tradition/#c1471

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

Autumn Traditions and Time Travel – part 2

I met Hartl once more at his breathtaking lake side farm early in the morning while the dew was still glistening on the grass and the fog was beginning to lift revealing the mountains once more. After our long jeep ride up the mountain passing several groups of hikers heading up Bodenschneid in this perfect wandering weather.

We arrived at the Alm early that Sunday morning and Anna and the other Hirteren (herders), Sennerin and farmers were calmly preparing the cows for their festive procession down the mountain, through the town and back to the farm. It is rather amazing how calm the cows remain even once they have received their large ceremonial bells and the head pieces. The calmness is attributed to the care and calmness of the Sennerin and her many helpers. If the humans remain calm, the animals follow suit…for the most part. They are animals after all and can be very unpredictable. Like humans each animal has it’s own distinct character.

Looking timelessly beautiful in her Trachten (traditional clothing), hair braided in the traditional way and decorated with Edelweiss. It was very obvious Anna was leading this show and with pride, as she should be. Very few famers in our region had a successful season this summer due to extreme weather. Once all the selected cows received their decorations, and everything was put just right, Anna began to lead them home. Of course the cows had ideas of their own and ran in different directions but through the skill of Anna and her many helpers the cows were once again quickly organized and down the mountain, through the forest they went.

Their journey took the group along ancient wandering forest paths of which I can only imagine hundreds of years of farmers traveled before. For over two hours they negotiated these mountain paths cheered on by the many hikers and cyclists they passed until they reached the edge of Schliersee and we on the homestretch to the picturesque farm in Hausham.

Once everyone had entered the farm and the cows were brought once again into their lush green pastures the business of deftly removing the decorations began. They are removed quickly and with care even if the cows seem to have difficulty giving up the pretty decorations. Part of the history of Almabtrieb as being a way to give thanks for a successful season but also it is important to hang the decorated bushes, head pieces, on the outside of the stalls to continue to bring the herd good luck.

The Baurernhof or farmhouse was situated with the mountains in the distance and was truly spectacular. Hartl and I were given the great honor to join the family and all the helpers in a magnificent meal on the sun soaked terrace surrounded by the delicious scent of warm vine tomatoes ripening. For this time traveling wanderer it was a life long dream.

If you would like to visit Rainer-Alm
http://www.bergwandern-für-senioren.de/huetten/index.php?gebiet=2&huette=213

For a wonderful farm house vacation or amazing cabin in ski season:
http://anderlbauer.schliersee.de/unser_hof/unser_hof.php

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).